IOC, FIFA, Premier League have long flirted with autocrats

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine drives international athletics committees away from Russia.  But they have accepted Putin's authoritarianism for too long.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine drives international athletics committees away from Russia. But they have accepted Putin’s authoritarianism for too long.
Illustration: beautiful pictures

Finally, the reckoning has come to sports organizations that have pitted against autocratic states. And not just FIFA and the International Olympic Committee, but for the Premier League, Formula One and any sports leagues have passed checks from dubious international sources while pretending the business is business.

The world order was broken, and so were the games.

On Monday, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina refused to play a match against an opponent representing Russia or Belarus. She doesn’t blame the players, she said, but she’s not willing to pretend her country isn’t under serious threat from a player on the field.

“… We – Ukrainian tennis players – have asked the ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the IOC recommendations to accept only Russian or Belarussian nationals as neutral athletes, without displaying any logos, colors, or colors. colors, flags or national anthem,” Svitolina posted on social media.

ATP tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky said that he had joined the Ukrainian reserve forces.

Sport has always been associated with politics, but most of the time there is a greater advantage in allowing free global competition than keeping a ledger to show how often countries deviate from national values. economics – one ledger will reveal the United States as much as any other.

But then there are times like the present we have to face.

As we witness Russian President Vladimir Putin once again killing peaceful citizens in the name of the empire, it should be noted that this is not the first time. This is a sports publication, but many stores have details Russian sabotage in recent years, whether in Chechnya, the Republic of Georgia, Crimea or Syria, or using disinformation as a weapon in free elections abroad. Mueller report finds Putin was quite active in the 2016 US election.

Putin’s political rival, Alexei Navalny, is on trial after surviving a serious threat to his life, facing 20 years in prison for a crime that few outside Russia believe has any chance base in fact.

These all preceded the invasion of Ukraine last week. At any point, sports federations and governing bodies could have refused to accept Russian money and pretended that Russia was just another actor in the ensemble of nations. They may have refused to use locations in Russia as venues or buy teams, but the facade of normality prevailed. They couldn’t help but publicize these brutal dictators, and allow them to enter the world’s greatest sports stages.

For this reason, Mr. Putin personally traveled to Beijing last month to kick off the Olympic Games and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. On February 11, Ukrainian skeleton racer, Vladyslav Heraskevych, held up a sign that read “No war in Ukraine”. It was reported that he could be cited for violating the rules against political speech during an Olympics.

However, if you really want to talk about breaking Olympic rules, then Putin’s Russia has become a reality. The team was found to have established a comprehensive program to replace dirty urine samples from athletes who were unable to compete as nationals (again) this year in Beijing. But that hasn’t kept Russian athletes from being wiped out by doping, after 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva won gold and then had a model back. with evidence of banned substances and two additional heart drugs.

But the most sacred Olympic tradition that Russia has broken is the international truce. Although the first part of the Olympics has ended, the Games will begin on Friday, and the international armistice lasts all the while.

IOC launched statement about this violation. “…IOC President Thomas Bach reiterated the call for peace he expressed in his speeches at the Opening ceremony and Closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. ”

As the tanks advanced towards Kyiv, it was too late for statements and speeches. Bullies just understand accountability and that didn’t come in time. Instead, Bach chose to impose rules on athletes who use their platform to discuss injustice, rather than their own perpetrators.

So now here is the calculation. Russian financier Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club, has transferred management of his club to an affiliated charity, which appears to be a hedge against the team being banned. disenfranchisement. The IOC (belatedly) recommends that sports leagues only allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in national neutrality. FIFA banned Russia from participating in the World Cup but only after many countries objected to playing with the team or at Russian venues.

Close the barn door after the horse comes out of the stable.

Nothing prevents politics from international sports. Pretending that one can draw a line between the two is simply to silence disagreements. The only way to proceed is to understand the historical and human context that each country offers to compete, and to have clear, enforceable standards.

Sports leagues have looked the other way for too long.

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