LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee urged sports bodies on Friday to cancel or move all events they plan to hold in Russia and Belarus and to stop using the countries’ flags and national anthems.
The Olympic body’s request came after UEFA moved the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to the outskirts of Paris and after the ski and Formula 1 governing bodies withdrew the upcoming races from Russia.
The World Volleyball and Shooting Championships are scheduled to be held in Russia. There is also a World Cup qualifier playoff against Poland scheduled for March 24 in Moscow.
Russia broke the Olympic truce by invading Ukraine on Thursday, just four days after the closing ceremonies of the Winter Games in Beijing. Some Russian troops entered Ukraine from Belarus, Russia’s ally.
This is the third Russian breach of the Olympic truce in the past 14 years. Russia invaded Georgia during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and annexed Crimea shortly after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The IOC said the governing bodies “must take into account the breaches of the Olympic armistice by the Russian and Belarusian governments and give absolute priority to the safety and security of athletes”.
After a meeting of its executive board, the International Olympic Committee said the flags and national anthems of Russia and Belarus should not be used at international sporting events.
The International Olympic Committee [board] Expresses its deep concern for the safety of members of the Olympic community of Ukraine and stands in full solidarity.”
Russia’s name, flag and national anthem have already been banned from the March 4-13 Paralympic Games in Beijing due to past disputes over doping. Her team is scheduled to compete as the RPC, short for the Russian Paralympic Committee.
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