IOC urges federations to exclude Russian, Belarusian athletes
Breaking its no-politics doctrine, the International Olympic Committee calls on sports federations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged Monday sports federations and organizers to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events in response to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.
The IOC also withdrew the Olympic Order, its highest award, from all high-ranking Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, and Kremlin Deputy Head Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak.
In a statement, the IOC said its executive board "recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organizers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions".
IOC Executive Board recommends no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officialshttps://t.co/XZyLIi11XR— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) February 28, 2022
If not possible for "organizational or legal reasons," the IOC called on sports officials to do "everything in their power" to prevent athletes from the two countries from taking part under the name of Russia or Belarus.
The IOC statement comes days before the Paralympic Winter Games, which begin Friday in Beijing.
Last week, the IOC urged all international sports federations to cancel forthcoming events in Russia.
UEFA set to suspend Russia
UEFA is set to suspend Russian teams from all competitions, German sports agency SID -- an AFP subsidiary -- revealed.
The first Russian team affected would be Spartak Moscow, who face RB Leipzig away in a Europa League last 16, first-leg tie on March 10.
According to SID, the decision to suspend Russia is supported by several national federations, including the powerful German and English associations.
"I can't imagine that there will be matches against Russia. There cannot - and must not - be," Peter Peters, a candidate for the German FA presidency, told the agency.
UEFA also announced that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in international competitions must play home matches at neutral venues "until further notice."
UEFA's decision was quickly followed by Formula One announcing they were canceling this year's Russian Grand Prix that was supposed to be held in Sochi on March 25.
It is noteworthy that Russia has been stripped of hosting the UEFA Champions League final in St. Petersberg.
FIFA to suspend Russia from World Cup
FIFA is in "advanced discussions" to suspend the Russian national team from international competitions including the World Cup following the invasion of Ukraine, a source with knowledge of the talks told AFP on Monday.
The source said Russia would be expelled from the World Cup "unless the situation improves."
The Russian team is due to play Poland in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on March 24.