The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is urging all sports bodies around the world to cancel future events in Russia and Belarus, following the former Soviet Union’s third breach of the Olympic Truce in 14 years, after this week’s invasion of Ukraine.
The story of Russia’s invasion of neighbor Ukraine on Thursday has controlled the headlines for many news outlets over the last 24-plus hours. Even on sports news sites, the biggest war in Eastern Europe since World War II has received a great deal of coverage. As Ukrainian athletes like former boxing heavyweight champion brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have proclaimed their desire to take up arms and fight to defend their homeland.
The UEFA moved their planned 2022 Champions League final out of St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday as they condemned the actions in Ukraine. Now the IOC — the body that oversees all Olympic activities — has come out against the invasion just a few days after the closing of the Beijing Olympic Games.
IOC asks international sports bodies to cancel future events in Russia and Belarus
On Friday, the committee released a statement directed towards all sports sanctioning bodies, with future events in Russia and Belarus, to “take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments into account and give the safety and security of the athletes absolute priority.”
This is the third time Russia has breached the agreement among nations that compete in the games. The two previous instances came in 2008 with an invasion of Georgia during that year’s summer games, and again in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from mainland Ukraine.
Belarus is part of the suggested event ban due to the fact that they have aided Russia in their invasion by allowing Russian troops to set up battle lines on the Belarus and Ukraine border.
Along with asking sports bodies to cancel future events in the Eastern European nations, they also requested those bodies to not use the flags and national anthems of Russia and Belarus at international sports events.
“The IOC [board] expresses its deep concerns about the safety of the members of the Olympic community in Ukraine and stands in full solidarity,” it said.