Sports

Champions League, Volleyball World Cup… The world of sport is organizing its response after the Russian invasion in Ukraine


On the night of Wednesday to Thursday February 24, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major military operation on Ukrainian soil, de facto triggering a war with the country. Since then, several cities have been bombed, causing, according to the Ukrainian presidency, the death of 40 soldiers and a dozen civilians.

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The sports world has been alarmed by this situation and many boycotts have already been announced, threatening the holding of several events linked to the two countries.

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Live. War in Ukraine: curfew in Kiev, fighting around the capital

UEFA, which condemned “firmly the military invasion” Russian this Thursday, decided to meet urgently, Friday at 10 a.m., its executive committee. Its members could be led to upset the calendar for the coming months, or even to take sanctions against Moscow, in unison with the international community which condemned the start of the conflict.

Champions League compromised

Top of the pile is the fate of the Champions League final, scheduled for May 28 in St Petersburg, whose stadium is named after gas giant Gazprom, one of UEFA’s main sponsors since 2012.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday there was no ” no chance “ that Russia can host international football competitions in the coming weeks.

In Mariupol, “we have always been ready for an invasion”

“No decision has been made” by UEFA at this stage, but the European confederation “working on different options” to relocate the meeting, explained to AFP a source with knowledge of the file.

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No handball in Ukraine

Moscow must also host the semi-final of the 2022 World Cup play-offs between Russia and Poland on March 24, or even the final on March 29, if “Sbornaïa” beats Robert Lewandowski’s team.

In addition to the C1 final, the Polish Sports Minister also suggested withdrawing the organization of the men’s volleyball world championship from Russia, which begins on August 26. For its part, the German club Schalke (D2) has decided to remove the name of Gazprom, its main sponsor, from its jerseys, while the representative of the Russian company has resigned from his duties on the supervisory board. Formula 1 world champions Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel do not see themselves participating in the Russian Grand Prix in September.

Ukraine: “It would take a huge shock for the Russians to find the situation unacceptable”

Playing in Ukraine seems even more complicated. The European Handball Federation (EHF) has decided to relocate or postpone the matches which were to take place on Ukrainian soil for the next four weeks.

The explosion of the conflict led the National Football League on Thursday to suspend the Ukrainian championship, which was to resume on Friday after more than two months of winter break.

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“No to war”

Several foreign players and coaches were alarmed by the situation, caught in the dilemma between wanting to leave the territory and remaining loyal to their club. “The situation is serious and we are stuck in Kiev waiting for a solution to leave. We are inside a hotel. Pray for us “launched on Instagram the Brazilian striker (with a Ukrainian passport) Junior Moraes, who plays in Chakhtar Donetsk.

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“I did not leave because I am here to play sports and I could not turn my back on the championship and the supporters who follow us”said his trainer, the Italian Roberto De Zerbi, to the Italian agency Italpress.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which “strongly condemns the violation of the Olympic truce”in effect until seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games in Beijing (March 4 to 13), “by the Russian government”, has set up a working group to closely monitor the situation. This group should also “to coordinate, as far as possible, humanitarian assistance to members of the Olympic community in Ukraine”.

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Outside the country, several Ukrainian footballers have taken a stand, such as Benfica Lisbon striker Roman Yaremchuk, who celebrated his goal on Wednesday in the Champions League against Ajax Amsterdam (2-2), showing off a black jersey bearing the his country’s coat of arms, or Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko. “Glory to Ukraine”wrote tennis player Elina Svitolina, former world number three, on Instagram.

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Rare Russian voice to speak, international footballer Fedor Smolov wrote “No to war”followed by a Ukraine flag and a broken heart, in a short post on Instagram.



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