Western countries call for Russia to be excluded from sports bodies

Western countries call for Russia to be excluded from sports bodies


WASHINGTON | Western countries on Tuesday called on international sports federations to kick out their Russian and Belarusian members after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

In a joint statement, 35 Western countries as well as Japan and South Korea have called for no sporting events to take place in Russia or Belarus and for their athletes to be banned from international competitions, a request they had already expressed on March 8.

The signatories this time also recommended that Russian and Belarusian bodies be suspended from international sports federations.

“Individuals close to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence within international sports federations such as boards or organizing committees,” the ministers' statement said. of Sports and Cultural Officials, published by the US State Department.

They also called on organizers of sporting events to consider suspending television broadcasts in both countries.

The United States and the European Union are seeking to isolate Russia in order to increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin, who took obvious pride in hosting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the Cup World Cup in 2018.

FIFA and the Wimbledon tennis tournament, among others, have banned Russian players and teams since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.< /p>

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had previously banned Russian athletes from competing under their own banner because of doping, recommended excluding Russian and Belarusian athletes.

But two Russians continue to sit on the IOC, Yelena Isinbayeva, an Olympic high jump champion close to Putin, and Russian tennis boss Shamil Tarpischev.

The press release also calls for competitions that still host athletes Russians or Belarusians to explicitly state that the latter do not represent s their countries, and to ban the use of their flags.