sport after sport, the sanctions imposed on Russia

After the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee, on February 28, to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions, sanctions rain down on Russia. Overview.

The world of sport – an instrument of Russian “soft power” – continues to sanction Russia and condemn the invasion of Ukraine. The largest country on the planet, with its 145 million inhabitants, has been completely excluded from international competition.

With its appeal “not to invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and official representatives in international competitions” and the withdrawal of all Olympic honors from senior officials, including Vladimir Putin, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) broke with a long tradition of non-intervention in political or geopolitical debates.

>> War in Ukraine: “Sports authorities have taken responsibility by excluding Russia”

And for now, this recommendation appears to be widely followed: Russia appears to be following the path of Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia and apartheid South Africa in the history of sports pariahs.

Football: Russia deprived of competitions

Guests of the last World Cup in 2018, the Russians were excluded, on Monday 28 February, from the 2022 edition in Qatar (21 November-18 December) by the International Football Association. Fifa and UEFA have jointly announced the suspension of Russian national teams and clubs from all their competitions “until further notice”.

Questioned by the AFP, FIFA had not confirmed on Monday evening whether Poland, which would play a world playoff against Russia at the end of March, had directly qualified for the final of these playoffs or whether another format would have been held. .

The UEFA executive committee will also meet shortly to decide the impact of the exclusion of the Russian team from the women’s euro, scheduled for July in England.

The body chaired by Aleksander Ceferin has also decided to exclude the last Russian club still in contention from European competitions. Spartak Moscow will not play in the round of 16 of the Europa League against Leipzig, who qualified directly to the quarter-finals. He also moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to the Stade de France.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine also has repercussions on sponsorship contracts: Adidas has suspended the partnership with the Russian Football Federation. The day before, UEFA had terminated its partnership with Russian energy giant Gazprom, one of its main sponsors since 2012, “with immediate effect”.

The contract was estimated at 40 million euros per year, according to specialized media, and covered the Champions League, the international competitions organized by UEFA and Euro-2024, which will take place in Germany.

Also sponsored by Gazprom, the German club Schalke 04 had already announced the termination of its contract, and Manchester United, for its part, decided to do without the Russian airline Aeroflot.

A leading figure in the Premier League for 15 years, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, announced that he had entrusted “the directors of the Chelsea charitable foundation with the management” of the London club, a retirement still unclear.

Another sensitive case, AS Monaco, owned by the Russian billionaire Dimitri Rybolovlev. The Monegasque club is very discreet on the subject.


On Tuesday, the International Volleyball Federation withdrew from Russia the organization of the 2022 Volleyball World Cup, scheduled between August and September. Poles and French, respectively world champions and Olympians, had, even before this decision, warned that they would be canceled if the competition was maintained there.


World Athletics, the international athletics federation, chose to follow this path by announcing on Tuesday the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians “for the foreseeable future and with immediate effect”. No Russian athlete will participate in the Indoor World Championships in Belgrade (March 18-20) or the World Championships in Eugene (Oregon) next July.

Winter sports

The International Skating Union (ISU) announced Tuesday that no Russian or Belarusian skaters “will not be allowed to participate in the events organized” by the federation.

Skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, but also rugby, boxing or swimming: many other national or international federations have also announced drastic measures against Russian and sometimes Belarusian athletes.

Between them, the Swedish and Norwegian ski federations said Russian athletes were not welcome in their territories in March. The International Ski Federation, for its part, has canceled all competitions scheduled in Russia. Flags and anthems of Russia and Belarus have been banned by the International Biathlon Federations.

All Russian and Belarusian teams have also been banned from the International Hockey Federation, depriving the Russians of the 2022 World Cup in Finland.


Russian President Vladimir Putin was suspended from his status as honorary president and ambassador of the International Judo Federation (IJF), before being stripped of his status as honorary president of the European Judo Union (EJU).

For the moment, the IJF has not announced any sanctions for Russian and Belarusian athletes.


In basketball, Fiba also announced Tuesday that Russian teams would not be allowed to participate in its competitions “until further notice”.

I swim

The Fina (International Swimming Federation), which has canceled its competitions on Russian soil, allows swimmers to line up individually.


A swim-like decision by the International Fencing Federation (FIE), whose head, Russian-Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov, targeted by Western sanctions, has also announced he will return.


A cerebral sport and an integral part of the Russian soul, chess did not stand out when it came to condemning Russia. The International Chess Federation (Fide), however, led by Arkadi Dvorkovitch, close to the Kremlin, announced the day after Russian troops entered Ukraine that its Olympics, its most prestigious competition that sees national teams compete against each other, will not would be held in moscow.

>> Sanctions against Russia: the world of chess also in the game


In tennis, the announcements made on Tuesday by the world authorities concern only team competitions. They were thus excluded from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, of which Russia is the reigning champion, but players from both nations, such as the Russian Daniil Medvedev, brand new number 1 in the world, and the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (number 3), will be able to compete in circuit tournaments, including those of the Grand Slam.


The International Cycling Union (UCI) has struck hard by excluding Russian and Belarusian teams from its races and by withdrawing its UCI status from the Gazprom / RusVelo professional team, the only top-tier Russian team in the international group.


Russia and Belarus have been suspended from participating in international rugby “until further notice”, the world governing body World Rugby said, with “full and immediate” sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s entry into World Rugby has also been suspended indefinitely, ending Russia’s low hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, which will be played next year in France.

Formula 1

Sochi is a symbol of Russian sporting “soft power”: host city of the 2014 Winter Games, it also hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix. But this season it will not be so: the promoter of the competition, Formula 1, has canceled it.

The American team Haas, for its part, has questioned its partnership with its Russian sponsor Uralkali.

Paralympic Games

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ended the suspense on Wednesday 2 March and authorized Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Beijing Paralympic Games which will begin on 4 March. While the shadow of exclusion loomed over the athletes of the two countries, the international organization decided to let them compete, but under a “neutral” flag.

“They will participate under the Paralympic banner and will not appear on the medal table,” IPC said in a statement posted on its website.

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