Latvia bans national sports teams from competing against Russia and Belarus
On February 1, Latvia's Saeima enacted legal amendments preventing national sports teams from engaging with Russian and Belarusian counterparts
This was reported on the website of Latvia's Saeima.
The ban extends to scenarios where athletes from Russia and Belarus participate under a neutral flag. Additionally, Latvia is barred from hosting team sports competitions involving these nations under their respective flags or neutral symbols.
The statement highlighted that the primary objective of these legal changes is to express Latvia's solidarity with Ukraine, aiming to "effectively thwart any attempts by Russia to legitimize its war crimes through sports."
The head of the Subcommittee on Sports of the Committee on Education, Culture, and Science of the Sejm of Latvia clarified, "The core concept of the sports law amendments is to establish in national legislation that Latvian teams in sports like basketball, football, or hockey cannot engage in matches with aggressor countries – Russia and Belarus – either on home turf or neutral grounds. International sports organizations must respect Latvian legislation if there's a draw and the Latvian team faces Russia or Belarus."
However, the amendments do not address the participation of Latvian athletes in the Olympic Games, as the country's Olympic Committee makes decisions on Olympic involvement.
- On January 4, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) excluded Russians and Belarusians from the 2024 Youth Winter Olympics.