Aust, US sports bodies call for Russia ban

Staff WritersReuters
The Russian embassy says a ban on Russia and Belarus teams will be contrary to the Olympic spirit.
Camera IconThe Russian embassy says a ban on Russia and Belarus teams will be contrary to the Olympic spirit. Credit: AP

Australia has joined the United States and a range of allies in calling for the suspension of Russian and Belarusian sports bodies from international federations, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian embassy in the US describes the move as "Russophobic", saying "sports should stay out of politics".

"Using it as an instrument to exert pressure and settle scores directly violates the basic principles of the Olympic movement and is contrary to the spirit of competitiveness as well as healthy competition," it said in a Facebook post.

The Russian response came hours after the US State Department issued the joint statement with allies including Australia, also urging sports organisations to consider suspending the broadcasting of competitions into Russia and Belarus.

Other signatories include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea. China, India and states in Latin America and Africa were among countries not listed as signatories.

The joint statement said in cases where sports organisations allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete, it should be made clear they're not representing the Russian or Belarusian states.

The use of official Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems and anthems should be prohibited, the statement said.

In March, Australia was among nations demanding Russia and Belarus not be permitted to host or bid for any international sporting event.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a number of sporting bodies have banned athletes representing Russia.

FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia's national teams and clubs from international football days after the February 24 invasion began.

Moscow calls its action in Ukraine a "special military operation."

Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, said on Sunday the ex-Soviet state stood fully behind Russia in its military drive in Ukraine as part of its longstanding commitment to a "union state" with Moscow.

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