Russia has been stripped of major sporting events after its invasion of Ukraine intensified as St Petersburg lost the Champions League final while the Formula 1 Grand Prix will not be held in Sochi. The Russian-Ukrainian crisis escalated when Russian missiles pounded Kiev following a declaration of war by Russian Vladimir Putin this week.
European football’s governing body UEFA has decided to move the Champions League final – club football’s premier event – to the Stade de France in Paris after receiving backing from French President Emmanuel Macron.
The decision was greeted with regret by the Kremlin but welcomed by British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
“Russia must not be allowed to exploit sporting and cultural events on the world stage to legitimize its unprovoked, premeditated and unnecessary attack on a sovereign democratic state,” Dorries said.
Formula 1, motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, and the teams discussed the situation and came to the conclusion that it was “impossible to stage the Russian Grand Prix under the current circumstances”.
The race, which joined the calendar in 2014, was scheduled for September 25 at Sochi’s Olympic Park. On Thursday, former champion Sebastian Vettel and defending champion Max Verstappen said it was “wrong” to race in Russia.
After Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic refused to play World Cup qualifiers in Russia, UEFA said that the home games of Ukrainian and Russian clubs and national teams participating in the competitions of the UEFA would be played at neutral venues. Read the full story
This could affect Spartak Moscow’s chances in the Europa League after their draw with German side RB Leipzig. The Russian team had the advantage of being seeded for the draw but will now have to play the second leg at a neutral venue. Read the full story
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has urged international sports federations to move or cancel sporting events currently scheduled in Russia or Belarus.
The International Judo Federation (IJF) said it had canceled its May 20-22 Grand Slam event in Kazan, Russia, but in a brief statement IJF President Marius Vizer did not makes no reference to Russia or Ukraine.
“The International Judo Federation announces with regret the cancellation of the 2022 Grand Slam in Kazan, Russia,” said Vizer, who has long-standing ties to Putin, himself a judoka.
“We are saddened by the current international situation, the result of ineffective dialogue at the international level.”
Russian troops entered Ukraine through Belarus when the invasion began on Thursday. The IOC added that the flags of the two countries should not be displayed at sporting events.
Five World Cup ski events scheduled to take place in Russia this weekend and next month have been canceled or moved by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in the interests of the safety and integrity of the competition.
“Participants are already on site at the two World Cup events that were scheduled for this weekend and FIS is working closely with the stakeholders involved to ensure their speedy return home,” he said. .