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ISU Bans Russia, Belarus from figure skating events

ISU bars Russia, Belarus from figure skating events
In light of the ongoing crisis regarding Russia and Ukraine, the International Skating Union (ISU) has barred Russian and Belarussian athletes from competing in ISU-related events.

“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country,” read the statement. The ISU Council reaffirms its full solidarity with the ISU Members in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Speed Skating Federation and the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation. The ISU Council will evaluate possibilities for swift humanitarian assistance to its Ukrainian ISU Members.”

This comes on the heels after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials.

“The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma,” read the statement. “While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country.”

“In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.”

The IOC acknowledged that “this is a dilemma which cannot be solved” and issued the following:

  1. Wherever this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB strongly urges International Sports Federations and organisers of sports events worldwide to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.Wherever, in very extreme circumstances, even this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB leaves it to the relevant organisation to find its own way to effectively address the dilemma described above.In this context, the IOC EB considered in particular the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and reiterated its full support for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Games.
  2. The IOC EB maintains its urgent recommendation not to organise any sports event in Russia or Belarus, issued on 25 February 2022.
  3. The IOC EB has, based on the exceptional circumstances of the situation and considering the extremely grave violation of the Olympic Truce and other violations of the Olympic Charter by the Russian government in the past, taken the ad hoc decision to withdraw the Olympic Order from all persons who currently have an important function in the government of the Russian Federation or other government-related high-ranking position, including the following:
      • Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation (Gold, 2001)
      • Mr Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation (Gold, 2014)
      • Mr Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office (Gold, 2014)
  4. The IOC EB welcomes and appreciates the many calls for peace by athletes, sports officials and members of the worldwide Olympic Community. The IOC admires and supports in particular the calls for peace by Russian athletes.
  5. The IOC EB reaffirms its full solidarity with the Ukrainian Olympic Community. They are in our hearts and thoughts. The IOC EB commits to continue and strengthen its efforts for humanitarian assistance. Therefore, the IOC EB has today established a solidarity fund. In this context, the IOC expresses its gratitude to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Sports Federations that are already supporting Ukrainian athletes and their families.

The Russian Figure Skating Federation (RFSF) was extremely disappointed with the decision and believes that it is “discriminatory and grossly contradicts the basic principles of the international Olympic movement.”

“Unfortunately, we have to state that this decision is evidence that sport has fully become an instrument of politics and once again demonstrates double standards, inflicting the main blow on athletes,” read the RFSF statement. “In this situation, we will consider all possible options for action and take the necessary measures to preserve and protect the interests of our athletes and coaches.”

Valentin Piseev, the honorary RFSF president, was outraged. He was quoted on Metaratings.ru as saying: “They have done worse to themselves, there will be no interest in figure skating without Russian athletes. Ugly decision. This will not contribute to the development of world figure skating and the holding of the championship at the level at which it should be, the interest in competitions will clearly disappear. The championship will no longer be the same as it always was when our Russian athletes participated.”

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