The Russian invasion in Ukraine continues to have serious consequences on professional sport, with in particular calls for the exclusion of Russia from the World Cup-2022, and broken sponsorship contracts, less than a week before the opening of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.
– Towards an exclusion from the World Cup? –
Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden do not budge: they will not face Russia in March in the play-offs of the World Cup-2022, even under the name of “Russian Football Federation” (RFU). Fifa has so far not ruled out Russia but has hinted that it reserves the right to take further action. Until pure and simple exclusion, requested by the French Football Federation?
Others, such as the Danes, the English, the Scots, the Irish or the Swiss have warned that their teams will not face Russia until further notice.
– UEFA considering doing without Gazprom –
After withdrawing the Champions League final in Saint Petersburg, UEFA seems on the verge of denouncing its partnership with Gazprom, also terminated by the German club Schalke 04. Manchester United has for its part decided to do without from Aeroflot.
– Sochi without F1 –
Sochi is a symbol of Russian sports “soft power”. Host city of the Winter Games in 2014, it hosts the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix. But this will not be the case this season: the competition’s promoter, Formula One, has canceled it.
The American team Haas has for its part called into question its partnership with its Russian sponsor Uralkali. And the future in F1 of Nikita Mazepin, son of a leader of Uralkali, who was to drive one of the two single-seaters, seems questioned.
– The Abramovich case –
A major figure in the Premier League for 15 years, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, announced on Saturday that he was entrusting “the administrators of the Chelsea charitable foundation with the management” of the London club, a withdrawal still unclear. Another sensitive case, AS Monaco, owned by Russian billionaire Dimitri Rybolovlev. The Monegasque club is very discreet on the subject.
– Opponents are lacking –
It is not only football where the Russians note the reluctance of opponents to face them: the Ukrainian fencers, who were to face the Russians on Sunday in the World Cup by foil teams in Cairo, withdrew from the competition. Dressed in yellow and blue, the men’s team members held up signs reading: “Stop Russia! Stop the war!”.
– Neither boxing nor swimming –
The four major boxing federations will no longer allow fights in Russia. The International Swimming Federation (Fina) canceled the Junior Worlds in Kazan in August and warned that no competition would be held in Russia.
As for the three Russian clubs aligned in Euroleague basketball, they will have to play their home games abroad, knowing that Russians and Europeans mutually prohibit their airspace.
In football, Leipzig are in talks with UEFA about whether to play their Europa League tie against Spartak Moscow. Provided that it takes place: according to the German agency SID, a sports subsidiary of AFP, UEFA is on the verge of suspending Russia from all its competitions.
– Volleyball: Franco-Polish boycott –
Scheduled from August 26 to September 11, the Volleyball Worlds seem threatened even if the international federation has not yet reacted. Poles and French, respectively world and Olympic champions, warned that they would be forfeited if the competition was maintained in Russia.
– Outcasts –
An accomplished judoka, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been suspended from his status as honorary president and ambassador of the International Judo Federation.
Stockholm has called for an exclusion of Russia from all competitions hosted by EU countries. Already, the Norwegian and Swedish ski federations have made it known that Russian athletes are not welcome in their territories for the March events. And the British authorities have warned that the Russian and Belarusian “national selections” are persona non grata. Belarusian basketball players have already paid the price.
Finland has called for the exclusion of Russia, a major hockey nation, from its Worlds in May.
– The IOC condemns –
The International Olympic Committee has urged international sports federations to cancel or relocate any events scheduled in Russia or Belarus. He also asks that the flags of these two countries not be hoisted and that their anthems not be played.
In the process, the International Ski Federation (FIS) notably announced the cancellation of all its competitions in Russia. The International Biathlon Federation (IBU) has banned anthems and flags from Russia and Belarus. In response, the Russians ended the season of their biathletes.