Russia stripped of major sporting events amid Ukraine invasion

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
A soccer player warms up next to a UEFA board with the sentence "Road to Saint Petersburg 22" referring to the Champions League final former scheduled host city, in Lisbon, Portugal, on February 23, 2022.
AP Photo/Armando FrancaA soccer player warms up next to a UEFA board with the sentence "Road to Saint Petersburg 22" referring to the Champions League final former scheduled host city, in Lisbon, Portugal, on February 23, 2022.

'Russia must not be allowed to exploit sporting and cultural events on the world stage'

As Russian forces continue to advance deeper into Ukraine, sports bodies are stripping Russia of events, with St. Petersburg losing the Champions League soccer final and the Formula One Grand Prix being canceled in Sochi.

Russia launched its invasion by land, air, and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin, as major cities like Kyiv have been rocked by heavy and frequent military exchanges.

European soccer governing body UEFA relocated the Champions League final to the Stade de France in Paris with the support of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The decision was condemned by the Kremlin but welcomed by the United Kingdom’s 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 needless attack against a sovereign democratic state," Dorries said.

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Formula One, motorsport’s governing body FIA, and the participating teams decided that it was "impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”

Champion racers Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen said it was “wrong” to race in Russia.

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Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic also refused to play World Cup qualifiers in Russia.

Homes games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams would be played at neutral venues, the UEFA said.

The International Olympic Committee urged international sports federations to either move or cancel sporting events currently planned in Russia or Belarus.

It added that the two countries’ flags should not be displayed at events.

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