Sports minister reveals number of events Russia has lost
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has warned the world of sport that the lack of competition from banned Russian athletes is harmful for all concerned, while stating the precise number of events which his country has been stripped of due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has lost major sporting showpieces in recent months following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of February that federations should neither invite Russian athletes to competitions nor host tournaments in the country.
That has led to Russia being deprived of events such as the UEFA Champions League final, which was scheduled for St. Petersburg in May, and the world championships in volleyball and ice hockey, planned for 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Sports Minister Matytsin has now put an exact figure on the number of events removed from Russia.
“As of May 25, international sports organizations canceled/postponed 186 international sporting events planned in Russia in 2022-2023, including 36 major international sporting events,” said Matytsin, who has been heading a Russian delegation on a visit to India.
The minister added that Russian sports officials had been tasked with seeking compensation for canceled events – something the likes of the Russian Football Union (RFU) has already said it will do with UEFA and FIFA.
But as Russian and Belarusian athletes face widespread bans, Matytsin warned that it was not only athletes from the two countries who would suffer.
“This theory [of a damaging absence of competition] applies not only to us, but to all world sports – the lack of competition with Russian athletes is harmful,” Matytsin said, as quoted by RIA Sport.
Matytsin has previously cautioned that world sport cannot hope to develop “normally” without the participation of Russian athletes, arguing that various federations had already come to realize their errors in attempting to alienate Russian sport.
On the flip side, Matytsin said on Thursday that Russia was also stepping up its efforts to hold tournaments for its athletes and those from other countries.
“From February to May 2022, more than 30 international competitions were held in Russia,” said the minister.
After Russian athletes were banned on the eve of the Beijing Winter Paralympics in March, Russia promptly arranged an alternative event at the Siberian resort of Khanty-Mansiysk – something it has vowed to continue to do.
Matytsin has taken the opportunity of his visit to India to discuss the strengthening of sporting ties between the two countries, suggesting that Russia would be more than willing to help India with organizing a future edition of the Olympic Games, should it be granted hosted rights.