Russia has been deprived of major sporting events after its invasion of Ukraine intensified as St Petersburg lost the Champions League final while the Formula One Grand Prix will not be held in Sochi. The Russia-Ukraine crisis deepened after Russian missiles began hitting Kyiv this week, following a declaration of war by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
European football’s governing body UEFA has decided to move the Champions League final – club football’s flagship event – to the Stade de France in Paris after receiving support from French President Emmanuel Macron.
The decision was met with regret by the Kremlin but welcomed by British Culture Minister Nadine Dorries.
“Russia must not be allowed to exploit sporting and cultural events on the world stage to legitimize its unprovoked, premeditated and needless assault on a sovereign democratic state,” Dorries said.
Formula 1, the motorsport governing body FIA and the teams discussed the situation and concluded that it was “impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix under the current circumstances”.
The race, added to the calendar in 2014, was scheduled for September 25 at Sochi’s Olympic Park. On Thursday, both former champion Sebastian Vettel and reigning champion Max Verstappen said it was “wrong” to race in Russia.
After Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic refused to host World Cup qualifiers in Russia, UEFA announced that home games of Ukrainian and Russian clubs and national teams participating in UEFA competitions would be played at neutral venues. Read the full story
That could hurt Spartak Moscow’s Europa League chances after they were drawn against German club RB Leipzig. The Russian team had the advantage of being seeded for the draw but now have to play the second leg at a neutral venue. Read the full story
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called on international sports federations to either postpone or cancel sporting events currently planned 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 made no mention of Russia or Ukraine.
“The International Judo Federation regrets to announce the cancellation of the 2022 Grand Slam in Kazan, Russia,” said Vizer, who has long-standing ties with Putin, who is himself a judoka.
“We are saddened by the current international situation, which is the result of inefficient dialogue at the international level.”
Russian troops were invading Ukraine via Belarus when the invasion began on Thursday. The IOC added the two countries’ flags should not be displayed at sporting events.
Five Ski World Cup events scheduled to take place in Russia this weekend and next month have been canceled or postponed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in the interest of the safety and integrity of the competition.
“Competitors are already on site for the two World Cup events scheduled for this weekend and FIS is working closely with stakeholders involved to ensure their speedy return home,” it said.