Sports sanctions against Russia

Condemnation across the board


Photo illustration (Eric Yeung, Alex Gaspar, and Adam Helfstein/Talon)

There have been widespread international reactions to the continued Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 14. The sports world has reacted in solidarity with the international outcry, placing their own forms of sanctions and restrictions on Russia. 

The International Olympic Committee has suggested that sports federations do not allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions.

“Give peace a chance,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. 

Additionally, the International Paralympic Committee barred Russian and Belarussian athletes from participating in the Winter Paralympics in Beijing. This comes as a result of threats of boycotts by Olympic teams had Russia and Belarus been allowed to participate in the games.  

Social outcry continues in public sporting events, with demonstrations being held by athletes and other personnel from the world’s most popular sports teams. 

LaLiga soccer clubs FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli players participated in a “Stop War” demonstration before their match on Feb. 27. Similarly, Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt, two German soccer clubs, stood in solidarity with the message “Stop it, Putin!” displayed on stadium screens on Feb. 26. 

Additionally, German race car driver Sebastian Vettel plans to boycott racing in the F1 Russian Grand Prix. “I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race,” Vettel said

The International Tennis Federation has suspended both Russian and Belarusian federations from competition until further notice. It also canceled all events from Russia and Belarus.

Additionally, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), has banned Russia and Belarus from their events until further notice. Russia has been pulled from the 2023 World Junior Championships, the highest tournament for underage players. 

The IIHF said they did not take in the actions of the Russian government, rather the health and safety of players, fans and officials. 

“We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said in a statement

Roman Abramovich, a long-time Russian owner of Chelsea FC, a prestigious soccer club based in London, has decided to sell the club. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government has threatened sanctions on Abramovich, prompting him to cut ties with Chelsea. 

“I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners,” Abramovich wrote in a statement.

Abramovich stated that all proceeds from his sale will go towards the victims of Ukraine. 

“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery,” Abramovich said. 

Finally, Russian teams will not be allowed to participate in international FIBA basketball and 3×3 competitions. 

All of these sanctions add fuel to the fire of what has been nearly unilateral denunciation of Russia’s action to invade Ukraine. There will undoubtedly be more to come as the situation progresses. 

“I’m glad that people are taking a stand,” said Oak Park senior athlete Noah Teichner.