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1 Mar, 2022 11:49

Sports authorities will ‘seriously regret’ banning Russia – Duma deputy

Dmitry Svishchev blasted 'weak federations and weak athletes' who think they might become world champions in Russia's absence
Sports authorities will ‘seriously regret’ banning Russia – Duma deputy

Russian Duma Deputy and Sports Committee chairman Dmitry Svishchev has condemned a world without Russian athletes and compared the advantages that others have in their absence to doping.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended an international event ban for Russian and Belarusian athletes amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, paving the way for the likes of football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA to ban Russian national teams and clubs from their competitions.

Russian official Svishchev said that he does not understand how world sport would be without Russian athletes.

"Foreigners themselves do not represent this," Svishchev claimed of the sweeping sanctions against Russian sport. 

"Perhaps weak federations and weak athletes rub their hands and think that now without Russia they will become world champions and Olympic champions," the official told Match TV.

"The ban on the participation of Russians, the strongest in many sports, will be an advantage for many, it will be like doping for them."

Svishchev stressed he is sure the topic of Russian athlete exclusion is "temporary," and that everything will "start to recover over time," though just how quickly it cannot be said. 

In his view, however, the developments are a "disaster for the entire world of sports."

"If these guys in the IOC [and] the federations don't come to their senses, it will be a disaster," he balked.

"Tomorrow it will go to other countries. If they treat Russia like this, imagine how these 'comrades' will behave with smaller countries – they will bite them with one tooth, step over [them] and not [even] notice.

"Russia is too tough for them. In the near future, they will seriously regret what they did," Svishchev predicted.

As part of a lengthy statement on Monday, the IOC recommended a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competition across all sports, claiming it took the step with a "heavy heart."

The IOC also recommended that wherever this is not possible, Russian and Belarusian nationals should be accepted only as neutral athletes or on neutral teams with no national symbols, colors, flags or anthems displayed.

The IOC also stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Kremlin Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko of the Golden Orders awarded to them by the organization.

Chernyshenko accused the IOC of "impulsive posturing" and aligning the Olympics to political ends, while "undermining the spirit of the games and the never-before-seen success of the Sochi [2014 Winter] Games," which he helped organize.

"The IOC has opened a Pandora’s Box to be exploited by historical revisionists, and all sport should be concerned by its eager willingness to do so," warned Chernyshenko.