Sport Russia has become sparse and will remain so for a long time to come.


The response from sports organizations has been swift since Russian troops invaded and began shelling Ukraine on Thursday. On the world sports scene, Russia now finds itself isolated from the rest of the world. Vladimir Putin always used sports for propaganda or sportwashing“,”text”:”sportwashing”}}”>sports washto show that his regime was accepted on the international stage.

One of the quickest reactions to the Ukrainian invasion came from former star hockey player Jarri Kurri, whose team immediately pulled Jokerit from Helsinki from the KHL. The playoffs are about to begin in this professional league and Jokerit, who had an excellent season, would face Spartak Moscow in the first round.

There is also talk that Jokerit will return to the Finnish championship Liiga from next season. The war initiated by Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly last several years. It is difficult to understand how Kurri or Jokerit’s sponsors would find it acceptable to continue their activities with the Russians as if nothing had happened in a few months.

UEFA has decided to withdraw the presentation of the Champions League final from the city of Saint Petersburg. This event, watched by nearly 400 million viewers worldwide, was to take place on the territory of Russia on May 28.

Normally, relocating an event of this magnitude is a logistical nightmare, especially because of the enormous security costs involved. But according to UEFA, French President Emmanuel Macron would have personally intervened to facilitate the presentation of this final at the Stade de France in Paris.

A match takes place under a magnificent sky.

Stade de France will be able to host the Champions League final.

Photo: Getty Images / Julian Finney

On Friday morning, the leaders of the F1 world championship and the FIA ​​announced that the Grand Prix to be held in September in Sochi, 36 hours after the Russian declaration of war, was scrapped from the calendar.

On Thursday, drivers Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen had already announced their intention to boycott the Russian GP. Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he has yet to see F1 hold a Grand Prix in a country that has started a war.

Since the occupation of Ukraine, attending a sporting event in Russia is tantamount to condoning an armed conflict that threatens world peace and stability. Choosing a camp is quite easy, both morally and financially.

A racing track

Sochi Grand Prix circuit

Photo: dpa / DIMITAR DILKOFF via getty images

On Friday, even the lax International Olympic Committee (IOC) pulled teeth.

Twenty-four hours after Russia became too convinced that Russia had broken the traditional Olympic truce (once again), the IOC returned to the charge, asking all international federations not to organize or plan sporting events on Russian soil. Belarus facilitated the invasion of Ukraine.

The IOC went so far as to require countries that will hold international competitions not to display the Russian and Belarusian flags or play their national anthems.

Coincidentally, they are three of the strongest international sports organizations (UEFA, F1 and IOC) to have publicly knocked Russia out of their books. Yet, not long ago, leaders of the same organizations shamelessly marched arm in arm with Vladimir Putin.

In short, whether skiing, judo or any other discipline, Russia is officially a no man’s land“,”text”:”no man’s land”}}”>nobody has land in sports. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) should do the same in a matter of days, stopping from offering the World Junior and World Championships in Russia in 2023.

Equally dramatically, many sports teams and organizations began announcing that they were ending relationships with Russian sponsors.

We do not know how long the war that Russia has just started will last. On the other hand, as long as this rivalry continues, it is clear that all these major sports federations will not be able to set foot in this country. In fact, even after the conflict, the Russian purgatory is likely to be long.

As for Putin, who especially enjoys taking pictures with the leaders of the IOC, F1 or major international federations, he will soon realize that he is no longer part of the club. Even after the war, the toxicity level will be so high that no one will want to appear in your company.

Wow, what do you want him to do?some will ask.

Considering all Putin’s efforts to gain political advantage by using sport (remember the sickening doping system that the Sochi Games cost 50 billion and he oversees to get more medals at the same Games), it is necessary to conclude that this complete rejection of the international sports community gives him political advantage. as damage.

This war is terrifying and disturbing in every way. But under the circumstances, these instantaneous reactions from the sports community are heartwarming.

For several years we’ve wondered if the leaders of major sporting organizations have lost all conscience or all moral sense, seeing them flirt and deal with the dictators of this world.

After the Beijing Games, Vladimir Putin had to sink extremely deep for us to see that, somewhere, a piece of him remained.