Sporting Events Canceled in Russia Amidst Ukraine Invasion 

By: Matteo Herrera 

Due to tensions going on in Russia, the sports world has reacted by pulling every future sporting event away from Russia. Russian troops are continuing to march into Ukraine, which has sparked an international outrage leading to sanctions and criticism.

“Due to nato expansion in Ukraine Russia has taken steps that the international community has deemed unacceptable. reactions to their invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine have sent shockwaves throughout many different sporting communities. Athletes from all over the world are using their platform to try to promote peace and show Vladimir Putin that the world is watching Russia already has a weak standing,” said University of Tampa student, Andrew Elman, majoring in Political Science. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has condemned Russia for their invasion of Ukraine and stated that they should ban both Russia and Belarus flags & national anthems from being displayed in future Olympic events. They are also encouraging relocating their upcoming events away from both countries. The IOC has also accused Russia and Belarus of breaching the ‘Olympic Truce’ with their creation of conflict. 

Russia was also set to host the Swimming World Championships in the winter and the Men’s Volleyball World Champions in the fall. Both of these events are currently under pressure to be canceled.

Formula 1 has canceled the Russian Grand Prix, one of many races in their season. They stated it would be impossible to host a race in Russia that was set to be held in September.

“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation. On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances,” stated Formula 1 on all of their social media platforms. 

Their wording suggests that if the circumstances do change, then the event will be held. 

“The purchased tickets are not canceled, there is no need to get refunds for them now because it is still possible that the round will take place and be held as previously scheduled,” said Russian Grand Prix promoter, Rosgonki. 

However, other sources have said that F1 will not host the event regardless of changing circumstances. A renowned F1 Racer, Sebastian Vettel has publicly stated that he would boycott the event if it were to be held. 

The F1 American team, Haas, has already stripped Russian sponsor, Uralkali, the branding and signage from their F1 car, and all equipment with their name on it. Founder of Uralkali, Dmitry Mazepin, who is also the father of one of the Haas drivers, Nikita Mazepin, met with Putin in Moscow to discuss the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia. 

While Mazepin and Uralkali were not part of the sanctions, their future will be decided in the coming weeks about their sponsorship. 

The UEFA Champions League 2022 final was supposed to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. They have announced that they have stripped the hosting rights from Russia and have given them to Paris, France. The last time the Champions League final was hosted in Russia was in 2006. 

“The UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the final of the 2021-2022 UEFA Men’s Champions League from Saint Petersburg to State de France in Saint-Denis. The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday, May 28 at 9 p.m.,” said the UEFA Executive Committee on all of their social media platforms.

On top of that, UEFA announced that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams that will be competing in UEFA events will have to play their home games in neutral venues, which means outside their respective countries. A well-known club that will be impacted is Spartak Moscow, which is competing in the UEFA Europa League and recently reached the Round of 16. 

There has been some tension to this decision. Alexander Dyukov, the president of Russia’s Football Federation (RFU), said that he believes this decision was motivated by politics.

“I think it is fair to the country and the players. The Champions League final and the other competitions are in the right, just because Russia is in a war and if someone wanted to get back at them, it would be at the events. So this keeps the players safe. And let’s remember they are at war,” said University of Tampa student Victor Mercado, majoring in Marketing. 

Staying with the sport of soccer, Bundesliga, the professional association football league in Germany, has announced that they will remove the logo of their main sponsor, a Russian oil company, Gazprom, from their uniform. 

The Ural Mountains in Russia are one of the locations of the Ski World Cup. The International Ski Federation is canceling all future ski competitions in Russia, especially due to multiple skiers having refused to compete in Russia. 

Barcelona has also stated they will not send their basketball team to participate in two games against two teams in Russia which were supposed to be held on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. 

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