US, Allies Seek Removal of Russia, Belarus From Sports Governing Bodies

The U.S. and allies on Tuesday called for the governing bodies of sports in Russia and Belarus to be suspended from international sports federations over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine, facilitated by the Belarusian government, is abhorrent and a flagrant breach of its international obligations,” according to a statement from the U.S. State Department that called for the removals. “Respect for human rights and peaceful relations between nations form the foundation of international sport.”

The statement also called for “individuals closely aligned to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence on international sport federations, such as boards and organizing committees.”

It also called for suspending the broadcast of sports competitions into both countries.

The statement added that if a sports organization allows citizens of either country to participate in an event, “it should be clear that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian states” and they should not use “official state Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems and anthems.”

“We call on all international sport federations to take account of these principles, applaud all those that have taken action already, and encourage our own domestic sporting bodies to engage with their international federations to do so,” the statement, which was signed by more than 30 countries, read. “These restrictions should be in place until cooperation under the rules-based international order has become possible again.”

Some information in this report came from Reuters.

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