Sports ministers are firm: Russia has no place in international sports organizations during the on-going war in Ukraine


2022 07 05


Sports ministers and politicians of 35 states have signed their second statement on suspension of Russia and Belarus’ athletes and organizations from participating in international sports.

‘Sport is not above or beyond the limits of politics. That is why we, sports politicians, must stand firm and solidarize with national and international sports organizations, using broad opportunities of free and democratic nations seek that sport does not become a cover for war crimes and its supporters or doers. This message is important to sports organizations, as well as Russian and Belarussian athletes, who do not oppose their countries’ criminal behavior,’ said Mrs. Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Education, Science and Sport.

The statement notes that Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine, facilitated by the Belarusian government, is abhorrent and a flagrant breach of its international obligations. Respect for human rights and peaceful relations between nations form the foundation of international sport.

Politicians reaffirmed their governments’ united position that Russian and Belarusian sport national governing bodies should be suspended from international sport federations. Individuals closely aligned to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence on international sport federations, such as boards and organizing committees. It is also stated that national and international sports organizations should consider suspending the broadcasting of sports competitions into Russia and Belarus.

Sports politicians call on all international sport federations to take account of these principles and applaud all those that have taken action already. They encourage their own domestic sporting bodies to engage with their international federations to do so.

It is noted that these restrictions should be in place until cooperation under the rules-based international order has become possible again.

This March, the first resolution on Russian and Belarussian athletes’ participation in international sporting competitions was signed by representatives of almost 40 countries. The statement emphasized that Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to organize any international sports competitions and that their athletes should be prohibited from competing in other countries.

Lithuania takes a strong stance towards sports in Russia and Belarus. On the first day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, Mrs. Šiugždinienė urged all Lithuanian sport federations, clubs, and athletes to sever all sporting ties with Russia and Belarus, not to travel to these countries for competitions and not to host their athletes in Lithuania.