It’s been nearly two weeks since Putin’s Russia started a gruesome and unprovoked attack on its neighbour country Ukraine. Organisations and companies were quick to enact immediate sanctions, and the illegal incursion is altering industries worldwide.
Sports, in particular, is facing several challenges to adapt their global events that typically welcome athletes from all countries. Let’s look at how Russia’s invasion impacts sporting events, sponsors, and athletes from Russia and Belarus.
FIFA and UEFA condemn the Russian military invasion of Ukraine
Football, the most popular sport in the world, is facing a whole lot of changes in the months (and years) to come.
As both FIFA and UEFA strongly condemn Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, both football associations were quick to react. The UEFA champions league final will no longer be held at the Gazprom Stadium in Saint Petersburg in May and will be moved to the Stade de France in Saint-Dennis near Paris.
Russia will also no longer compete in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, a unanimous decision made by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA.
If you happened to place bets on the Champions League final or other events, you might find that your online sportsbook either cancelled or altered the odds of your football bets. This is because future bets use a wide range of factors to calculate your potential return, and a change of location can make a significant impact.
For bettors that placed bets on Russian games, there is a good chance those have been cancelled altogether. Various online sportsbooks like Parimatch or bet365 have ceased their operations in Russia with immediate effect and no longer offer betting services in the country.
Haas F1 team terminates contract with Uralkali
Changes are not only happening in football. Formula 1 team Haas reacted to the events and terminated their engagement with title sponsor Uralkali with immediate effect. Uralkali is owned by Dmitry Mazepin, one of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen with close ties to Vladimir Putin. While Masepin hasn’t released a statement on the invasion, sanctions are supposed to target oligarchs and other people of influence to raise the pressure on Putin.
As part of the sponsorship termination, Haas F1 is also parting ways with its driver, Nikita Mazepin. This comes despite the FIA’s ruling that Russian drivers could continue to race in Formula 1 but under a neutral flag.
Other sports federations follow the same path
Association from other sports have also made adjustments to their events scheduling.
The International Gymnastics Federation announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials would be banned indefinitely from competitions starting this week.
The NHL, meanwhile, suspended its dealings with Russia-based KHL, which will make it hard for American teams to recruit and sign Russian players.
The ATP has been a little more lenient in tennis and did not ban players from participating. It might be partly because the ATP’s current world number one, Daniil Medvedev, is of Russian nationality. However, there are reports that players like Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, and Medvedev were pressured into removing their nationality from social media handles.