After the invasion of Russia into Ukraine, many sports organizations, including FIFA, have banned Russian teams from competition until further notice.
The movement of Russia into Ukraine has affected many people and industries, including Russians not associated with the military or the government.
The International Olympic Committee and FIFA decided to take action against Russian athletes and officials. Many people started to argue that Russia should pay for their actions against Ukraine in all aspects that could be possible.
Some of the sports that Russia is banned from are soccer, rugby, tennis, Formula 1 racing, Winter Olympic Sports and Summer Olympic Sports. A Russian ex-Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat says that this solution is an ‘unfair’ approach to athletes and officials from Russia sports.
I do not see the clear connection between solidarity and blaming Russian athletes for the events that are happening right now. FIFA will take place this year in Qatar and Russia is one of the teams that was qualified to play. Now, imagine being banned from one of the biggest competitions in sports for government decisions that have nothing to do with sports.
If Germany was not banned in the 1938 FIFA World Cup and neither was France in the 1950s , why does Russia have to be banned from sports competition where they have zero connection with the war actions? I understand why many organizations want to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. However, banning Russia from sports is a nonsense solution and most likely, those responsible for this war could care less about it.
There is no clear solution under these circumstances for the Russian athletes. Taking them out from competing seems unfair. The majority of Russian athletes do not feel pride about their country’s actions, they just want to play and do their job.
By Steven Serrano
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA and UEFA, three large and influential governing bodies in sports, have recently banned Russian national teams and clubs from their competition matches as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military invades Ukraine.
Other international sports organizations that have suspended Russia include tennis, Formula 1, FIA, World Athletics, canoeing, biathlon, gymnastics, rugby, etc. Russia also was removed as the UEFA Champions League Final host site in St. Petersburg UEFA ended a $50 million a year sponsorship deal with Gazprom, Russia’s energy giant.
From an athletic standpoint, this is heartbreaking. These athletes spend years training for these competitions, and just like that, it’s taken away from them because Russia wants to flex its military power. Russian athletes have nothing to do with the invasion and should be allowed to compete.
As someone who studies every aspect of sports in college, international sports and nationalism are linked. There is a certain pride a country feels watching their country be represented on the world stage. However, I do not see a correlation between banning athletes from Russia and the invasion. It kind of feels hypocritical due to the fact that international sporting events try to have an apolitical standpoint.
For example, in 1968 IOC and U.S. Olympic Committee were quick to ban two Black American sprinters for protesting the U.S.’s treatment of black citizens after winning gold and bronze in the 200m, but allowed Nazi Germany to host and compete in the 1936 Olympic Games with racist policies and human rights violations.
Personally, I would let them compete, but not under Russia’s flag.
By Shirell Washington