Following Russia’s invasion into their border country of Ukraine, world-renowned sports leagues are banning all Russian teams and competitors from numerous sports across the world. The leagues that have banned Russian national and club teams are UEFA and FIFA, the Paralympics, FIA and Formula One, The World Athletics Series, and the International Tennis Federation. All of these leagues have banned any and all competitors from Russia and Belarus. All together Russian athletes have been banned for more than 22 different sports and competitions worldwide.
Not only have Russian teams lost their ability to compete in national sporting events, but have also lost their ability to host them until further notice. The game company EA Sports recently released a statement about their stance alongside the Ukrainian people: “EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine.” The gaming company has recently dropped all professional, national, and club teams from their newest editions of NHL and FIFA. All Belarusian teams at all levels have been removed from the games as well.
Belarus has been added to the effective ban along with Russia after the country recently sided with the Russian attacks and invasions. Belarus was formerly a country a part of Soviet Russia but declared its independence in 1991 after the union disbanded. Belarus plays an important ally to Russia and their invasive tactics. The country’s geographical location gives Russian soldiers a strategic advantage. Belarus lies along the northern border of Ukraine and shares a common border hundreds of miles long. Belarus’s placement also makes it the closest allied country to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, along with sharing a common border with other NATO countries.
While the world’s tactic to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes appears as a necessary message to the two countries, I personally do not believe it will relieve the issues taking place in Europe. I feel it is unfair to the athletes who do not side with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ideology and war tactic. I feel remorse for all of the Ukrainian people impacted by Russia’s invasion, as well as the athletes who have trained their entire lives just to be denied for something they do not all agree with. The ordered ban by the world’s highest athletic associations and unions will hold some weight, but much more will need to be done.
Image by Alex Nikolsky at https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/22/russia-olympics-tokyo-2020-doping-punishments