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20 Mar, 2022 17:52

Polish, Swiss sports officials announce Russia boycott plans

The Polish Swimming Federation has followed in the footsteps of the country's football association
Polish, Swiss sports officials announce Russia boycott plans

Athletes from Poland and Switzerland will boycott the International Swimming Federation (FINA) 2022 World Championships if Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate, claiming that competing against the two countries is inconceivable because of the attack on Ukraine.

FINA is one of a diminishing number of sporting organizations not to have announced sanctions against individuals and teams from the nations since the conflict began on February 24.

The World Championships are scheduled for Budapest in June and the World Short Course Championships are set to take place in Kazan in December, although the International Olympic Committee has encouraged sporting organizations to move events away from Russia.

Polish Swimming Federation President and former Olympic champion Otylia Jedrzejczak said Russia and Belarus should be excluded from international communities "in all areas of life."

"The Board of the Polish Swimming Federation, in consultation with the representatives of Poland's seniors, decided to boycott the World Swimming Championships," she explained.

"The Polish swimming community, like most representatives of the free world, is shocked by the events that are happening in Ukraine.

"None of us can imagine today sports competition with players neither from Russia, nor from Belarus, which supports aggression in Ukraine."

The FINA Bureau has given athletes the option to participate neutrally under the federation's name and flag.

It has also said athletes could be barred if it deems their participation a risk to the safety and wellbeing of athletes "or places the conduct of competition at risk."

The Polish Football Association announced two days after the attack began that Poland would not take part in a crucial scheduled World Cup 2022 qualification play-off in Moscow on March 29.

FIFA Men's Player of the Year Robert Lewandowski, who captains Poland, publicly voiced his agreement with the move.

Poland have since been handed a bye, while FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian teams from their competitions.

Swiss Aquatics said its boycott was driven by concerns over safety and fairness guarantees if Russian and Belarusian athletes participate.

The European Swimming League has decided to bar athletes from the two countries.