The Fort Worth Press - Russian Grand Prix no more, Paralympics U-turn: Sport reacts to invasion of Ukraine

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Russian Grand Prix no more, Paralympics U-turn: Sport reacts to invasion of Ukraine
Russian Grand Prix no more, Paralympics U-turn: Sport reacts to invasion of Ukraine

Russian Grand Prix no more, Paralympics U-turn: Sport reacts to invasion of Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked a widespread backlash in the sports world, with the country booted out of this year's World Cup.

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Their Paralympians too have now been barred from the Beijing Winter Games, but the Ukrainians will compete after arriving in China.

AFP Sport looks at some of the main developments:


-- Russia is expelled from the 2022 World Cup after being suspended from all international competitions, FIFA and UEFA announce in a joint statement. The decision also affects Russian clubs in European tournaments.

-- The Russian men's team was due to play in qualifying play-offs in March for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, while its women's side had qualified for the European Championship in England, to be held in July.

-- The Polish FA had previously insisted they would not play Russia in a World Cup play-off semi-final. Poland were due to play in Moscow on March 24, with the winners scheduled to face Sweden or the Czech Republic, who had also said they would boycott any game against Russia.

-- UEFA also announces that it is ending its partnership with Russian state energy giant Gazprom, which was believed to have been paying around 40 million euros ($45 million) a year in a deal due to run until 2024.

-- Saint Petersburg were stripped as hosts of UEFA's Champions League final set for May 28. The game has been switched to the Stade de France in Paris.

-- UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has admits there is no timeline for Russia's readmittance into European football. "At this moment, impossible to say," Ceferin said at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit.

-- Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich made the "incredibly difficult" decision to sell the Premier League club, pledging that proceeds would go to victims of the war in Ukraine.


-- The International Olympic Committee urges sports federations and organisers to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events. A ban of this kind would see Russia join the Yugoslavia of Slobodan Milosevic and South Africa under apartheid rule as major sporting pariahs.


-- Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from the Beijing Winter Paralympics, with organisers performing a U-turn after just 24 hours and bowing to international pressure and threats of a boycott. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had just a day earlier said athletes from the two countries would be allowed to compete as "neutrals" in the Games, which start on Friday.


-- Russian and Belarusian players will continue to be allowed to compete in ATP and WTA events and at Grand Slam tournaments, under a neutral flag, the sport's governing bodies announce. However, the ITF does ban both countries' teams from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.

-- Ukraine's Elina Svitolina on Monday said she would refuse to play Russian Anastasia Potapova in Monterrey, but the former world number three did eventually take to the court following the WTA's sanctions. Svitolina, who was born in Odessa, had already pledged to donate her prize money from forthcoming tournaments to her country's military and aid groups.

-- Svitolina's compatriot Dayana Yastremska said she and her family spent two nights sheltering underground in Odessa. She then travelled with her sister into Romania before trekking to France to play in this week's WTA event in Lyon.


-- The Russian Grand Prix will no longer feature on the calendar at all. Having cancelled this year's race a day after the invasion, F1 organisers took it a step further and announced they had terminated the contract on a permanent basis. "Formula One can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future," they said in a statement.

-- The FIA has since said that the Russian and Belarusian flags will not be displayed or their national anthems played at its events. However, Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin will be able to race.


-- World Athletics barred Russian and Belarus athletes from all competitions. This includes those Russians competing as Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA). "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 president Sebastian Coe.


-- The International Ice Hockey Federation suspends all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from its competitions until further notice. It also strips Russia of the hosting rights for the 2023 junior world championships.


-- Boxing's four major sanctioning bodies -- the International Boxing federation, World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization -- said in a joint statement they will not sanction bouts in Russia. "Just as the world claims for cease of fire, our organizations have decided to not sanction any boxing championships in Russia," they said.


-- Russian President Vladimir Putin was suspended as honorary president of the International Judo Federation (IJF). Putin, an accomplished judoka who was awarded an eighth dan in 2014 -- one of the highest levels in the sport, had been honorary president since 2008.

-- The IJF will allow Russian and Belarusian judoka to compete, albeit under the IJF flag. The IJF were scathing on the IOC for urging federations to bar athletes from competing. "The global decision to sanction all Russian athletes, regardless of the different opinions many have expressed, is not considered to be justified," the federation said in a statement.


-- Rugby's world governing body banned Russia and Belarus from all international rugby "until further notice". Russia's membership of World Rugby was also suspended indefinitely, meaning the country's slim hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup in France are over.


-- The UCI bans all Russian professional teams and national teams from racing in competitive cycling. However, Russian riders who compete for teams from other nations will be able to continue in the sport.


-- The Badminton World Federation (BWF) strengthened within a matter of hours their measures against Russia and Belarus. Having originally cancelled all sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus, they announced a ban on athletes and officials representing the two countries from participating at tournaments sanctioned by the world federation.


-- Putin, like in other sports, has had his personal award, the FINA Order, withdrawn by the governing body. However, FINA stops short of barring all Russians and Belarusians, saying they could be "accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams".


-- World Taekwondo said they were stripping Vladimir Putin of an honorary black belt, as Russia's attack on Ukraine goes against the sport's motto: "Peace is more precious than triumph".


-- Russian and Belarus ice skaters have been barred from all competitions by the International Skating Union (ISU). Russia is a powerhouse in figure skating, most recently winning six medals -- two of them gold -- at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The blanket ban on athletes competing also includes short track and speed skating.


-- Russia has been stripped of hosting the men's Volleyball World Championships in August and September by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).