By Ken Reed

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has received a near universal pushback. The SportsWorld is no exception.

In the days following Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Russia’s neighbor Ukraine, the SportsWorld has condemned Russia in a variety of ways.

The International Olympic Committee strongly urged all sports bodies under the Olympic umbrella to exclude Russian athletes and officials from all international events. The IOC also withdrew the Olympic Order it gave Putin in 2001.

Soccer’s governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, have come down strong against Russia, banning Russian teams from the 2022 World Cup and European tournaments. The action followed individual statements from Poland’s, Sweden’s and Czech Republic’s soccer bodies saying they would refuse to play Russia in World Cup qualifying events. Russia has also been stripped of hosting the Champions League final.

In tennis, Ukraine’s highly-ranked Elina Svitolina said she would refuse to play an opponent from Russia or Belarus moving forward. Russia’s star men’s tennis player, Andrey Rublev signed a camera lens after a semifinal win with the message: “No war please.”

In auto racing, the Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for September was cancelled. The decision came after defending world champion Max Verstappen said he wouldn’t race in the event. “When a country is at war, it’s not right to run there.”

In hockey, the International Ice Hockey Federation pulled back the 2023 junior world championships from Russia and suspended all Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions.

Boxing’s four major sanctioning bodies all banned bouts in Russia.

Basketball’s governing body suspended Russian teams from all competitions and the EuroLeague suspended Russian basketball teams from the EuroCup.

The men’s volleyball world championship scheduled for Russia in August has been relocated.

And on and on it goes. The suspensions and cancellations handed to Russia stretch across virtually all sports.

Moreover, multiple sports entities have dropped Russian sponsors.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and resultant horrific impact on human lives, has been depressing, the strong response from the world of sports has certainly been gratifying.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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