Sport

Athletics-World Athletics imposes more sanctions on Belarus

FILE PHOTO: Diamond League - Zurich
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Zurich – Sechselaeutenplatz, Zurich, Switzerland – September 8, 2021 Athletics World President Sebastian Coe REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

March 10, 2022

(Reuters) – World Athletics will impose further sanctions on the Belarusian member federation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, governing body president Sebastian Coe said on Thursday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted sanctions on sports around the world, and Belarus, a key theater of the full-scale invasion, has also been penalized.

World Athletics initially reacted by banning athletes, coaches and officials from both countries from all events for the foreseeable future and, after a council meeting, decided to impose tougher sanctions on Belarus.

“These sanctions do not include the hosting of international or European athletics events,” Coe said at a news conference. “No representation in Congress or in decisions requiring congressional votes.

“No accreditation for participation in world athletics events and no involvement by federation staff in official world athletics development programs or professional programs.”

The Russian Athletics Federation has been banned from World Athletics for doping violations since 2015, and its competitors are barred from competing under the country’s flag at international events.

“None of us came into the sport to stop athletes from competing, but this is on a whole different scale,” Coe said.

“The Council agreed that it would be unthinkable for athletes from Ukraine to be excluded because … they cannot compete or train in an unparalleled environment, and that athletes from the two aggressor nations receive the full gamut.

“In the past I have railed against the fact that sport is only used as a tool. But here the answer is very clear. Everyone is now doing what they can to stand shoulder to shoulder and the sport needs to do the same.”

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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