On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale military invasion of Ukraine which has sparked actions from athletes, sports leagues and federations across the world and has brought about sanctions from sporting federations on Russia and Belarus whose territory was used as a launching pad for the invasion of Ukraine.
The world’s most popular sport, football is often seen as a sport that can be used to pass a message to a wider audience and its organisers, FIFA and UEFA used the platform to condemn the invasion by banning Russian national and clubs teams from their competitions “until further notice”.
The Russian men’s team was due to play in qualifying play-offs in March for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, while its women’s side had qualified for the European Championship in England, to be held in July.
In a statement, the Russian Football Federation said it “categorically disagreed” with the decision and added that it was contrary to the “spirit of sports”.
The Polish Football Association had previously insisted they would not play Russia in a World Cup playoff semi-final.
UEFA also announced that it is ending its partnership with Russian state energy giant Gazprom, which was believed to have been paying about 40 million euros ($45m) a year in a deal due to run until 2024.
Saint Petersburg, meanwhile, was stripped as host of UEFA’s Champions League final set for May 28. The game has been switched to the Stade de France in Paris.
Manchester United pulled out of £40million sponsorship deal with Russia airways, Aeroflot just Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich is seeking to sell the club after he was sanctioned by the UK government over his ties with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich is not alone as Everton have suspended all sponsorship deals with Russian companies backed by Alisher Usmanov though he was born in Uzbekistan he is a strong supporter of Putin
His business interests such as USM, MegaFon and Yota have been removed from their stadium, training ground and shirts branding.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has cleared Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes to participate at the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games as neutrals. The committee said that athletes from the two countries would compete under the Paralympic flag and not be included in the medal table.
This action follows the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that sports federations and organisers should not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.
On an individual level, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina is the first tennis player to refuse to compete against a Russian athlete – she had been due to face Russian Anastasia Potapova in Monterrey on Tuesday.
The enmity between the United States and Russia was again brought to the fore when US Formula One team Haas decided not to sport the Russian colours of its title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing in Barcelona. Similarly, the Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for September 25, was cancelled.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from its competitions until further notice. It also stripped Russia of the hosting rights for the 2023 junior world championships.
The International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended Russian President Vladimir Putin as its honourary president.
Putin, an accomplished judoka who was awarded an eighth dan in 2014 – one of the highest levels in the sport – had held the post since 2008.
The IJF also said it cancelled the 2022 Gran Slam in the Russian city of Kazan, planned to be held from May 20 to 22.
Ukrainian fencers withdrew from the world championships in Cairo to avoid a match with Russia.
The male Ukrainian team, dressed in the yellow and blue of their national flag, downed their swords and picked up signs to protest. “Stop Russia! Stop the war!” the signs read in English. “Save Ukraine! Save Europe.”
Rugby’s world governing body banned Russia and Belarus from all international rugby “until further notice”. Russia’s membership in World Rugby was also suspended indefinitely, meaning its slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in France are over.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) cancelled all sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus, banning them from hosting future tournaments “until further notice” and ordering their flags and anthems banned from all BWF tournaments.
World Taekwondo said they were stripping Putin of an honourary black belt, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine goes against the sport’s motto: “Peace is more precious than triumph”.
The body also said no Russian or Belarusian national flags or anthems would be displayed and played at events, nor will any future events be organised in the two countries.
Swimming’s global governing body FINA called off the World Junior Swimming Championships that were to take place in Kazan (23 to 28 August).
FINA also withdrew the order it awarded Putin in 2014.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) executive board called for all international events to be removed from Russia and Belarus.
The World Curling Federation began the process of removing the Russian Federation’s entries from the World Championships.