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From chess to tennis, global sports organizations distance themselves from Russia

Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia (left) and Magnus Carlsen of Norway talk after Carlsen won the FIDE World Championship in 2021. FIDE has banned competitions in Russia and Belarus in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Jon Gambrell
/
AP
Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia (left) and Magnus Carlsen of Norway talk after Carlsen won the FIDE World Championship in 2021. FIDE has banned competitions in Russia and Belarus in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As Russia pushes forward with its invasion of Ukraine, the International Chess Federation — which ranks more than 20 Russian athletes in in its top 100 — banned tournaments in Russia and Belarus, a close Russian ally that has supported the invasion.

The action is among several taken by sports organizations against Russia in the wake of the invasion.

The chess federation, known as FIDE, said it stands against war and condemns using military weapons to solve political conflict. The organization said in a news release it would take "any necessary action to ensure the security of chess players and other members of the chess community."

In addition to restrictions on tournament location, the federation also barred the Russian and Belarusian flags and anthems from FIDE chess events. FIDE also said it terminated sponsorship agreements with state-controlled Belarusian and Russian companies.

A slew of sports organizations have acted against Russia over the invasion

The move comes as a many world sports organizations are making similar decisions.

The International Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday that Russian and Belarusian Olympic committees will compete as neutrals in the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Rather than representing their country's flags, players from Russia and Belarus will compete under the Paralympic flag.

This week, World Taekwondo rescinded Russian President Vladimir Putin's honorary ninth-degree black belt. The international organization had conferred the honor in 2013.

World Taekwondo, following the lead of the International Olympic Committee, also banned Russian and Belarusian flags and anthems from its events. The organization also said it would not recognize Taekwondo events in Russia and Belarus.

In a joint statement Monday, FIFA and UEFA, the European soccer league, suspended all Russian teams from the World Cup, as well as other competitions.

"Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine," the soccer groups said.

Meanwhile, German soccer team FC Schalke 04 removed its main sponsor, Gazprom — a state-owned Russian energy company, from its jerseys.

And in basketball, FIBA announced that Russian teams and officials, would not be permitted to compete or participate in competitions until further notice.

The International Tennis Federation on Tuesday banned players from competing under the name or flags of Russia and Belarus, but Russian and Belarussian players can still compete as individuals.

The federation also suspended the memberships of the Russian Tennis Federation and the Belarus Tennis federation.

"The ITF remains in close contact with the Ukraine Tennis Federation and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine," the federation said.

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