Sports federation warns Norwegian official after anti-Russian demands
Norwegian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio has been warned by his sport’s global governing body the IHF after issuing anti-Russian demands to the organization, officials in Russia have said.
The press service of the Russian Handball Federation announced on Monday that the Ethics Commission of the International Handball Federation (IHF) had cautioned Lio over his behavior.
The IHF has suspended Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine, although Lio had wanted Russia to be expelled entirely from the IHF and European Handball Federation, and contracts ripped up with Russian and Belarusian sponsors, TASS reported.
“The code of ethics must ensure that all IHF members observe and support ethical conduct in our sport. However, the president of the Norwegian Handball Federation has violated this rule,” the Russian Handball Federation quoted an IHF letter as saying.
The head of the Russian Handball Federation, Sergey Shishkarev, said he was thankful to the IHF after it was called on to act.
“I am grateful to the International Handball Federation for objectivity and for the fact that they considered our appeal from the point of view of common sense,” Shishkarev told Match TV.
“This is a small, if not a victory, then a triumph of the idea that sport should be outside of politics.
“I hope that there will be no more such statements addressed to us. It is necessary to decide things in the sports arena, and not in verbal battles. Russophobic sentiments must be stopped.”
The IHF imposed a ban on Russia and Belarus in March following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of February that athletes from the two countries should not be allowed to compete at global events.
The decision meant, among other things, that Russia was banned from the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior and Youth World Championships in Slovenia, and the 2022 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship in Greece.
Norwegian officials have been among the most ardent campaigns for Russian bans across some sports, including skiing, where they were seen as pressuring the International Ski Federation (FIS) into its blanket suspension on Russian and Belarusian competitors after they were initially cleared to compete as neutrals.