Russian and Belarusian athletes banned, tennis players avoid exclusion from tour

  • Skiing, volleyball, rowing and badminton federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes
  • Tennis bodies ban athletes from competing under the Russian and Belarusian flag
  • Adidas suspends its partnership with the Russian football union
  • Russian Olympic Committee urges sports bodies to ‘refrain from politicizing sport’

March 1 (Reuters) – World Athletics on Tuesday joined a growing list of sports bodies in banning athletes from Russia and Belarus, while tennis governing bodies banned players from competing under the name or flag of either or the other country after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Since the start of what Russian President Vladimir Putin called “a special military operation” last week, Russian and Belarusian teams and athletes have found themselves excluded from international competitions in all sports. Read more

Belarus was a key stage for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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On Monday, the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing.

World Athletics responded by banning athletes, support staff and officials from both countries from all events for the foreseeable future.

Its council also agreed to consider further action, including the suspension of the Belarusian Federation, at its council meeting scheduled for next week.

The Russian Athletics Federation has been suspended from World Athletics since 2015 due to doping violations, and its competitors have not been allowed to compete under the country’s flag at international events.

World Athletics said the new sanction also includes Russian athletes who had Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) status in 2022.

“Anyone who knows me will understand that imposing sanctions on athletes because of the actions of their government goes against the grain,” said World Athletics chairman Sebastian Coe.

“I have denounced the practice of politicians targeting athletes and sport to make political points while other sectors go about their business.

“It’s different, because governments, companies and other international organizations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia in all sectors. Sport must step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace. We cannot and must not abstain.”


The decision by international tennis governing bodies will allow men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev, who is Russian, and women’s number three Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, to continue competing on tour.

The ATP and WTA have also decided to suspend the combined WTA-ATP event, which was to be held in Moscow in October. Read more

The ITF has suspended membership of the Russian Tennis Federation and the Belarusian Tennis Federation and withdrawn their entries from all ITF international team competitions until further notice.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who previously refused to play Russian Anastasia Potapova at the Monterrey Open, said she is likely to continue with Tuesday’s match.

“I will wear Ukrainian colors and for me it means a lot and it will be a special night for me,” Svitolina told ITV News.


Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has said it will allow drivers from Russia and Belarus to compete under a neutral “FIA flag” after convening an extraordinary meeting of its World Motor Sport Council, adding that no Russian or Belarusian national symbol or color would be allowed on the cars. . Read more

“The FIA ​​watches the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock,” said FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The badminton federation (BWF) has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competition from next Tuesday.

However, the BWF said it is allowing Russian players to participate in two para-badminton tournaments in Spain this week as they have already arrived there.

“These players, however, will compete as neutral athletes, without national flags or anthems,” the BWF added.

The world governing bodies for rowing, skiing (FIS), volleyball (FIVB), triathlon, canoeing and shooting (ISSF) have also banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions until further notice. .

“With immediate effect, no Russian or Belarusian athlete will compete in FIS competition at any level until the end of the 2021-2022 season,” FIS said in a statement.

The decision came shortly after the FIVB stripped Russia of the men’s world championship. Read more

Cycling’s governing body (UCI) has banned Russian and Belarusian teams from events and removed all Russian and Belarusian events from the 2022 international calendar.

However, the UCI added that Russian and Belarusian riders can continue to compete as neutrals, for teams that are not from either country.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has suspended the membership of the Russian MMA Union and the Hand-to-Hand Combat and MMA Federation of Belarus.

German sportswear company Adidas on Tuesday suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFS) with immediate effect. Read more

Swimming’s world governing body FINA said athletes from Russia and Belarus could only compete as neutral athletes or neutral teams.

He added that the FINA Order awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014 has been withdrawn.

The U.S. and Canadian Paralympic Committees (CPC) have said athletes from Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to compete in international sporting events, including the Paralympic Games in Beijing which begin on Friday.

The CPC also urged the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to “consider revoking the memberships of Russia and Belarus” from the IPC.

The IPC will meet on Wednesday to discuss Russia ahead of the Beijing Games. Read more


The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said it viewed the IOC’s recommendations as “ethnic discrimination”.

“It is evident to us that all decisions were made under strong external pressure from forces that are far from understanding the principles of integrity of the Olympic Movement…,” the ROC said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Now some sort of consultation is planned, but only after the decisions have been made and even executed. It turns out that the opinion of the athletes, our opinion, doesn’t matter anymore.”

Football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA suspended Russian national teams and clubs on Monday, making it likely the country will be left out of this year’s men’s World Cup and tournament. Women’s Euro 2022. Read more

UEFA on Tuesday allocated 1 million euros ($1.11 million) to charitable initiatives focused on Ukrainian children affected by the Russian invasion. Read more

($1 = 0.8987 euros)

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Manasi Pathak and Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis

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