Canadian Paralympic Committee says Russia, Belarus should not compete in Beijing

Canada’s Paralympic Committee said Tuesday it believes Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to compete in international sporting events, including the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing, joining a global chorus of condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In its condemnation of Russia’s abuses, the CPC also called for a special assembly to be convened “as soon as possible” to consider removing Russia and Belarus from the International Paralympic Committee.

“Our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, as well as with our community of athletes, coaches and staff members who may have friends or family affected by this horrific event,” the CPC said in a statement. “With the 2022 Winter Paralympics starting in just a few days, this is of great concern to us.

“All elements of Match setting must enable athletes to compete in a fair environment, and the safety and well-being of our athletes is our top priority.”

The IPC, which has the final say on whether Russian and Belarusian athletes will participate in the upcoming Olympics, is expected to make a decision on Wednesday. The 2022 Paralympics kick off on Friday.

“We understand that due to legal constraints, the IPC was unable to exclude Russia and Belarus from the Beijing Paralympics, so we urge the IPC to impose the strongest sanctions available,” the CPC said, although it was not immediately clear. what is the nature of the sanctions.

The CPC’s call for action comes a day after several leading leagues and sporting governing bodies around the world sanctioned Russia and Belarus, which had been a launching point for troops during baseless military operations and allies in the invasion, by severing financial ties with the country or expelling them from the country. competition until further notice.

The International Olympic Committee was one of the first to consider the participation of Russia and Belarus yesterday, recommending that athletes from those countries be barred from international events.

“The Olympic movement is united in its mission to contribute to peace through sport and to unite the world in peaceful competition beyond all political strife,” the IOC said in a statement. “The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma.

“While athletes from Russia and Belarus can continue to participate in sporting events, many athletes from Ukraine are prohibited from doing so due to attacks on their country.”

The IOC also revoked the Olympic Order – the highest award it can bestow, recognizing appropriate efforts for sporting purposes – from “all those who currently have important functions in the government of the Russian Federation,” including president Vladimir Putin.

In its statement, the IOC acknowledged that individual event organizers and sports federations would have to reach their own decisions on how – or if – they would implement the recommendations, citing the possibility that an outright ban on Russian or Belarusian athletes would be impossible. for “organizational or logistical reasons.”

With the Paralympics just days away, qualification appears to be a means of recognizing the hurdles the organizers face as more than 70 athletes from Russia and at least 12 from Belarus will compete.

Russia and Belarus continue to participate in the Paralympics though open letter from Ukrainian athletes calling for both countries to be banned from international sports, stemming from a “clear violation of the Olympic and Paralympic Charter” which “should be met with strong sanctions.”

Hours after the IOC recommendation, FIFA, football’s highest governing body, suspended Russia and its team from all international competition — including from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, just weeks before contesting one of Europe’s final World Cup spots. tournament.

FIFA was initially hesitant to impose substantial sanctions against Russia and the revised stance came after significant pressure from European countries, although it eventually completed a joint statement with UEFA, its European partner, saying the ban would be in effect “until further notice.”

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all those affected in Ukraine,” FIFA said in a statement. “Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can again become a vector of unity and peace among peoples.”

Then on Monday, the International Ice Hockey Federation suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from competition and deprived Russia of hosting the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship.

The NHL followed suit with its own sanctions, ending its business partnership in Russia and ceasing its use of Russian-language social channels and digital media assets. The league also said it would not consider Russia as a potential host “for future competitions involving the NHL.”

Jackson Wintringham

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