Western countries are calling for Russia to be excluded from sports bodies

Washington | Western countries on Tuesday called on international sports federations to expel their Russian and Belarusian members following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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In a joint statement, 35 Western countries as well as Japan and South Korea called for no sporting events to be held in Russia or Belarus and for athletes to be banned from international competitions, asking them to express this already on March 8.

The signatories also recommended this time to suspend the Russian and Belarusian bodies from international sports federations.

“Individuals close to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence within international sports federations such as organizing councils or committees,” the ministers’ statement said. by the US State Department.

They called on organizers of sporting events to consider suspending television broadcasts in the two countries.

The United States and the European Union are seeking to isolate Russia in order to increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin, who took pride in hosting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

FIFA and the Wimbledon tennis tournament, among others, have banned Russian players and teams since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

The International Olympic Committee, which had previously banned Russian athletes from competing under their own banner due to doping, recommended excluding the Russian and Belarusian athletes.

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But two Russians who continue to sit on the IOC are Yelena Isinbayeva, an Olympic high jump champion who is close to Putin, and Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarbyshev.

The press release also called on competitions that still welcome Russian or Belarusian athletes to state explicitly that these do not represent their countries, and to ban the use of their flags.

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