Espreso. Global

Russia supporters in sports – News Insight 

12 April, 2023 Wednesday
14:50

Some sports federations believe that Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine is insufficient to ban Russians and Belarusians from international competitions

News Insight writes about federations that invite representatives from the aggressor states to competitions, even though sports and politics in Russia are closely connected and many Russian sports stars showed their support for Putin’s regime.

According to the publication, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reversed its decision on Russians and Belarusians after 13 months, recommending their re-introduction in international competitions on March 28, 2023. However, the IOC shifted responsibility onto international federations to make the final decision based on IOC rules. The decision has put significant pressure on federations, with some able to withstand it while others succumb. Several federations have already voted to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete.

Fencing: The IOC is considering allowing Russians and Belarusians to compete in international competitions again. But the International Fencing Federation (FIE) has decided to permit them to compete in line with IOC regulations, following an emergency congress. 

The FIE's president and a Russian oligarch close to the Puti’s regime, Alisher Usmanov, temporarily suspended his powers in March 2022 due to sanctions, but the FIE is still considered to be under Russian control, according to Ukraine's Minister of Youth and Sports, Vadym Huttsayt.

Taekwondo: Russians and Belarusians can compete in the World Championships as neutrals, the World Taekwondo Federation Council announced. Certification of their “neutrality” will be given in three stages.

Wrestling: United Wrestling World approves participation of Russian and Belarussian wrestlers in international competitions, since its president Nenad Lalovic of Serbia is Russia’s supporter, according to Ukrainian wrestler, Olympic champion, and MP Zhan Beleniuk.

Second application was made by UWW to the IOC to relax requirements for permitting Russian and Belarussian athletes, who have contracts with the Russian army, to compete. UWW will not even screen them for security and military duty. 

Swimming: International Swimming Federation considers IOC's request to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete. A special committee has been formed to make a decision in July 2023.

Tennis, soccer, chess, and boxing: these are popular sports that the International Olympic Committee has little control over. The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) manage professional tennis, and Russians and Belarusians can still compete under a neutral flag.

UEFA decided to suspend Russian national teams and clubs in football, but it only applies to official matches.The Russian national team is capable of playing friendly games.

In boxing, the IOC is powerless due to the International Boxing Association being led by a Russian and sponsored by Gazprom. The IBA agreed to let Russians and Belarusians compete under their flag. However, the IBA and the IOC have a strained relationship. 

There is a campaign to ban Russian athletes from the Paris 2024 Olympics due to Moscow's war against Ukraine. The pressure on the IOC committee mounts, and they will need to review the possible consequences of allowing Russians to compete.

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