Ukraine Invasion: Russia, Belarus Receive World Athletics Council’s Sanction

Written By Uche Dozie

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last week which have caused a steer and world wide condemnation, the World Athletics Council has decided to sanction its member federations from Russia and Belarus.

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After the announcement by President Vladimir Putin for his troops to launch attack on Ukraine, the European nation have drawn a lot of sympathy from countries, world organizations and the sport world.

From shifting the host of the UEFA champions league final to another country; an event which was to be held St Petersburg to stripping Putin off his honorary presidential role in judo to disqualification of the Russian federation by FIFA amongst all these have shown the world’s distaste to the action by Russia.

Now, the athletics council has decided not to be left in the fray of those who condemns the act as “all athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future, with immediate effect.” report world athletics.org.

Report say there could be further action on the two federations including the suspension of Belarus when the council meets next week (9-10 March.


In an address to the Council, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “The world is horrified by what Russia has done, aided and abetted by Belarus. World leaders sought to avoid this invasion through diplomatic means but to no avail given Russia’s unswerving intention to invade Ukraine. The unprecedented sanctions that are being imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.

“Anyone who knows me will understand that imposing sanctions on athletes because of the actions of their government goes against the grain. I have railed against the practice of politicians targeting athletes and sport to make political points when other sectors continue about their business. This is different as governments, business and other international organisations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia across all sectors. Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace. We cannot and should not sit this one out.”

World Athletics Athletes’ Commission chairs Renaud Lavillenie and Dame Valerie Adams stands behind the decision even though it will affect the independent athletes from Russia.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow athletes, competitors, and friends from Ukraine who are facing far greater challenges than just disruptions to their training and competition, but are in fear of their lives and the lives of their loved ones,” Lavillenie said.

“While we understand the implications of this decision for Authorised Neutral Athletes from Russia and Belarusian athletes, who may not be condoning their nations’ deplorable military action in Ukraine, we cannot ignore the message that inclusion of these two nations’ athletes would send to our friends in Ukraine and the rest of the world.”


It will be recalled that the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) is not currently eligible to host World Athletics events or send teams to international championships as it had been suspended from World Athletics since 2015, due to doping violations.

However, a process for Authorized Neutral Athletes made it possible for Russian Athletes to participate at the Olympics. That process will not be applicable with the recent development.

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