GENEVA – More and more sports are following the appeal of the International Olympic Committee and banning Russian athletes from competing in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia was barred from competing in international ice skating, skiing, basketball, track, and some tennis events Tuesday, a day after being kicked out of soccer competitions and hockey – Vladimir Putin’s favorite team sport. The decisions follow the IOC’s request to international sports federations to keep Russian athletes out of events they organize.
The International Skating Union, the body that runs the sport around the world, said no athletes from Russia or Belarus “shall be invited or allowed to participate” in events until further notice.
Belarus has been a key ally of Russia in its attack on Ukraine.
The world figure skating championships are scheduled for later this month in Montpellier, France. The ISU decision means Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and 15-year-old teammate Kamila Valieva, who was the focus of a still-unresolved doping dispute at last month’s Winter Olympics, will be excluded from the competition.
The sports restrictions have drawn sharp criticism from Russia.
“Our country has always adhered to the principle that sport is beyond politics, but we are constantly drawn into the politics, because they understand the importance of sport in the lives of our Russian people,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who was stripped of an IOC honor for organizing the 2014 Sochi Olympics, said Tuesday at a Sports Ministry meeting.
Russian and Belarusian tennis players including top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, who is Russian, will still be allowed to play on the ATP and WTA tours, but without national flags, and at the Grand Slams. The countries are barred from team competitions like the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup until further notice. Russian players won both last year and are already qualified for this year’s finals as defending champions.
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In Norway, Russian cross-country skiers – who won 11 medals at the Beijing Olympics – were heading home after being excluded from competition by the International Ski Federation, known as FIS.
The decision came after a three-day standoff with Norwegian ski officials, who said they would refuse to let Russians and Belarusians race even if the governing body maintained its previous policy of allowing them to compete as neutral athletes.
“Firstly, I am glad that FIS has taken this decision,” said Norwegian ski federation president Erik Røste, who also sits on the governing body’s ruling council. “Then I have to be honest and say it has taken too long.”
The FIS position shifted Tuesday morning after its president, Johan Eliasch, took part in a conference call hosted by the IOC with the governing bodies of Olympic sports.
In track and field, Russia has been suspended since 2015 for doping violations but allowed to compete as “Authorized Neutral Athletes.” On Tuesday, the sport moved to a blanket ban on Russia and Belarus.
The governing body of track is run by Sebastian Coe. As an athlete, Coe defied calls to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and won a gold medal in the 1,500 meters.
“I have railed against the practice of politicians targeting athletes and sport to make political points when other sectors continue about their business,” Coe said. “This is different as governments, business and other international organizations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia across all sectors. Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace. We cannot and should not sit this one out.”
SPORTS WORLD:Attempts to put squeeze on Russia over Ukraine invasion
SOCCER:FIFA, UEFA suspend Russia from international competitions, World Cup
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Russia was also suspended by the International Basketball Federation. That will hit Russia’s bid to qualify for next year’s men’s World Cup. Russia already had one qualifying game against the Netherlands called off last week. The Russian women’s team has qualified for a place at the World Cup in September.
The International Volleyball Federation said it had stripped Russia of hosting the men’s world championships in August and September and would seek another host country or countries.
“It would be impossible to prepare and stage the World Championships in Russia due to the war in Ukraine,” the FIVB board said.
Volleyball also suspended Russian teams and clubs from international events, while rowing, badminton, canoeing and triathlon decided to exclude Russian athletes from their competitions.
The sport of swimming, however, has so far chosen to ignore the recommendation from the IOC to ban Russians. The sport’s governing body, known as FINA, said Tuesday it would allow Russian and Belarusian swimmers to take part “as neutrals, competing under the FINA flag and with the FINA anthem.”
The FINA website still lists Russia as hosting the world short-course championships in December.
The swimming body, however, said it had withdrawn a federation honor awarded to Putin in 2014.
Cycling will allow Russian riders to compete as neutrals but will bar Russian and Belarusian teams and sponsors.
Auto racing’s international body, the FIA, said Russian drivers like Nikita Mazepin can still compete but a block on having cars in national colors would stop Mazepin’s team Haas bringing back the Russian flag-stripe livery it removed during last week’s testing. The Russian Grand Prix was cut from the calendar on Friday.
The World Games, a multisport competition set to be held this summer in Birmingham, Alabama, banned athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from taking part in the 11-day event featuring sports and disciplines that aren’t on the Olympic program. Organizers said they were following the direction of the IOC, which provides support for the World Games.
Russia and Belarus combined to send more than 150 athletes to the last World Games, held in Wroclaw, Poland in 2017.
Russian athletes have already arrived in China for the Winter Paralympics, which open Friday. They are scheduled to compete as RPC, short for Russian Paralympic Committee, after the IOC offered a possible exemption for events starting at short notice. The Ukrainian team isn’t yet in Beijing, but organizers said they expect the country’s athletes to arrive in time.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said it doesn’t want the Russian team to compete in Beijing.
“As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace has been restored,” the USOPC said in a statement.
The governing bodies of three Olympic sports – fencing, shooting and boxing – are led by Russians. So far, only shooting has barred Russian athletes from competing.
The billionaire president of the International Fencing Federation, Alisher Usmanov, said Tuesday he would “suspend the exercise of my duties … until justice is restored” after being sanctioned by the European Union. Shooting excluded Russians and Belarusians on Tuesday, part way through a World Cup event in Egypt, while boxing said it would discuss the issue “later this week” at a board meeting.
The invasion has also led to some sponsors and companies cutting ties. Adidas, the maker of the Russian national soccer team jerseys, said it was suspending its partnership with the federation with immediate effect.
What each sport/federation is doing
Russia and Belarus flags and anthems banned at all World Archery international events.
Russia and Belarus athletes and officials barred from all World Athletics Series events, including the world race walking team championships in Oman this weekend, the world indoor championships in Serbia this month, and the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July.
Formula One canceled the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in September. Auto racing’s international body, the FIA, said Russian drivers can still compete but under a neutral flag.
Intercontinental Drifting Cup in Sochi in June canceled.
Russia and Belarus athletes and officials banned from participating in all Badminton World Federation tournaments from March 8. Also, all BWF events in Russia and Belarus canceled. However, a few Russian players at two Para events in Spain this week and next week allowed to play as already on site, but as neutrals with no flags or anthems.
Russia teams and officials suspended from all competitions by the International Basketball Federation.
EuroLeague suspended Russian clubs CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, and Zenit St. Petersburg. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar suspended from EuroCup.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus suspended from competing at any International Canoe Federation events. Officials from those countries were also barred from officiating at any ICF-sanctioned event.
Boulder and Speed World Cup in Moscow in April to be relocated.
European championships in Perm, Russia, in November to be relocated.
World Curling Federation begun process to remove Russian entries from women’s world championship in Canada this month and men’s world championship in Las Vegas in April.
The International Cycling Union will allow Russian and Belarusian riders to compete as neutrals but will bar Russian and Belarusian teams and sponsors.
International Equestrian Federation canceled all remaining events this year in Russia (51) and Belarus (six), including the Eurasian Championships in Moscow in July.
Alisher Usmanov, a Russian, stepped aside as president of the International Fencing Federation.
The International Gymnastics Federation canceled all World Cup and World Challenge Cup events in Russia and Belarus. Russia and Belarus flags and anthems banned at all FIG events. Canceled events included an acrobatics World Cup in Oktyabrskiy, Russia, in May, and a trampoline World Cup in St. Petersburg in September.
Russia excluded from Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa in April.
Russia and Belarus banned from all International Ice Hockey Federation events. Russia men out of world championship in May. World junior championships in Russia in 2023 relocated to Serbia. NHL suspended all business dealings in Russia. Finland’s Jokerit club withdrew from Kontinental Hockey League conference quarterfinals.
Kazan Grand Slam, a World Judo Tour event, in May canceled. Russia President Vladimir Putin suspended as honorary president and ambassador of International Judo Federation. Sergey Soloveychik, Russian president of the European Judo Union, resigned.
Karate 1-Premier League event in Moscow in October to be relocated.
Russia and Belarus athletes and officials banned from all International Modern Pentathlon Union events.
Russia and Belarus athletes and officials banned from World Rowing events.
Russia and Belarus suspended from all internationals and cross-border club events. Russia men’s team barred from Rugby Europe Championship and qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Russia women’s team barred from Rugby Europe Championship, sevens world series, and qualifying for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa in September. Russian Rugby Union’s membership of World Rugby suspended.
Russians and Belarusians were excluded part way through a World Cup event in Egypt.
Russia and Belarus banned from all International Skating Union events, including world figure skating championships in France this month.
All International Ski Federation events in Russia to the end of the season canceled or relocated. The World Cup cancellations included ski cross in Sunny Valley last weekend, aerials in Yaroslavl last week and Moscow this Saturday; moguls in Kuzbass this weekend; cross-country in Tyumen this month; and women’s ski jumping in Nizhny Tagil and Chaikovsky this month. Russian athletes to compete under FIS flag and anthem.
FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia national teams and clubs from all competitions. National men’s team barred from World Cup qualifying playoffs this month.
Champions League final in May relocated from St. Petersburg to Paris. Spartak Moscow barred from Europa League last 16.
UEFA canceled sponsorship from Russian energy company Gazprom which covered Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and the 2024 European Championship.
World junior championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, in August to be relocated.
World governing body FINA rules all Russia and Belarus athletes and officials to compete as neutrals with no country flag, colors or symbols. FINA Order awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin withdrawn. World junior championships in Kazan, Russia, in August canceled. Diving world series in Kazan in April canceled.
World Taekwondo and European Taekwondo Union will not organize or recognize any events in Russia and Belarus. Russia and Belarus flags and anthems banned at all international events. World Taekwondo withdrew honorary 9th dan black belt conferred on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The International Tennis Federation canceled all of its events in Russia and postponed a minor tournament in Ukraine in April. Russia and Belarus are barred from team competitions like the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup until further notice.
Russian and Belarusian players will still be allowed to play on the ATP and WTA tours, but without national flags, and at the Grand Slams.