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Russia-Ukraine war: Spartak Moscow out of Europa League as UEFA suspends Russia

Last updated on: March 01, 2022 00:18 IST
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RB Leipzig, who were to host Spartak Moscow on March 10, with the 2nd leg scheduled for March 17, will now progress to the quarters

IMAGE: RB Leipzig, who were to host Spartak Moscow on March 10, with the 2nd leg scheduled for March 17, will now progress to the Europa League quarter-finals. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

The Europa League last-16 matches between Spartak Moscow and RB Leipzig have been called off, European soccer's governing body UEFA confirmed on Monday shortly after it suspended Russia's national and club teams from all competitions.

RB Leipzig were due to host Spartak Moscow in the first leg on March 10, with the second leg scheduled for March 17.

 

But those matches were called off after soccer governing bodies FIFA and UEFA released a joint statement to announce Russia's suspension from all competitions until further notice due to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

"...The UEFA Europa League matches between RB Leipzig and FC Spartak Moskva cannot take place, and, as a consequence, RB Leipzig are qualified to the quarter-finals of the competition," UEFA said in a statement.

British and German Olympic associations call for exclusion of Russia and Belarus from international sport

The British Olympic Association together with the National Olympic Committee of Germany demanded the immediate exclusion of Russia and Belarus from the international sports family until further notice on Monday.

In a joint statement the organisations said: "We call on the international sports federations to ban athletes representing Russia and Belarus from competitions for the time being and to suspend Russian and Belarusian officials from their positions."

"We stand united with the people, athletes and the Olympic family of Ukraine, following this unacceptable and unwarranted declaration of war against them."

Medvedev's top ranking under cloud

With the sporting world uniting in condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Daniil Medvedev's meteoric rise to the top could hardly have happened at a worse time for tennis.

IMAGE: With the sporting world uniting in condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Daniil Medvedev's meteoric rise to the top could hardly have happened at a worse time for tennis. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters

Moscovite Daniil Medvedev reached the pinnacle of men's tennis when he became the ATP's world number one on Monday but what should have been a day of pride for Russian sport has been engulfed by the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Medvedev is only the third Russian man to top the standings and the first player outside the so-called "big four" of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to hold the top spot in 18 years.

But with the sporting world uniting its in condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Medvedev's meteoric rise to the top could hardly have happened at a worse time for tennis.

On Sunday the Ukrainian Tennis Federation urged the sport's governing body the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to immediately expel Russia and Belarus from the organisation and ban Russia from team and individual tournaments.

In a letter seen by Reuters, the Ukrainian federation described the actions of Russia and Belarus in Ukraine over the past four days as "unprecedented, cynical and bloody".

"Civilians are dying, including women and children; civilian infrastructure is collapsing ... This is a full-scale war that will push our country back decades," the letter said, adding that the goal of Russia's invasion was "extermination."

"Russia and Belarus do not have the right not only to hold international competitions on their territory, but also to participate in all ITF team and individual tournaments abroad," the letter continued.

Ukrainian Tennis Federation board member Seva Kevlych, talking to Reuters from Kharkiv on Monday, said Medvedev and other Russian players should be barred from Grand Slam tournaments and the Russian Tennis Federation barred from the Davis Cup and Billie Jean Cup team events of which they are reigning champions.

"Let (Medvedev) play on the ATP Tour but Grand Slams are ITF events and if you lose the possibility to play in Grand Slams he could never be world number one," Kevlych said.

"He shouldn't play in the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon.

"I don't care that Russia is the holder of the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. It would shame them when the holders are kicked out of these events.

"For Daniil to not represent the (Russian team) it's not a big penalty for him but it's a big shame for him. To represent a team with no flag, no anthem and no history in a team event, probably it would make him do the right thing."

In response to the Ukrainian letter the ITF said it had taken "swift action" to cancel all events in Russia indefinitely and that no ITF events would be held in Belarus for 2022.

"This is a fast-evolving situation; we are in active discussion with the ITF tennis family and the ITF Board to decide and align around our next course of action," it said.

"We stand united with the Ukraine and are working with the Ukraine Tennis Federation. Right now, our priority is the safety of the tennis players and the security of all those participating in our events."

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Swimming's global governing body FINA called off the World Junior Swimming Championships that were set to take place in Kazan and said that it would provide whatever support it could to members of the aquatics family impacted by Russia's invasion.

BWF cancels events in Russia, Belarus

Badminton's world governing body (BWF) has cancelled all sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus, it said on Monday, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian and Belarusian national flags must not be displayed and their national anthems not played at any BWF events. No other badminton tournaments will be allocated to Russia or Belarus until further notice.

"BWF will continue to monitor the situation closely and will proactively consult our international sport movement partners to discuss other options to potentially strengthen measures against the governments of Russia and Belarus," it said in a statement.

The governing body said it fully supported the International Olympic Committee urging sports federations to move or cancel sports events planned in Russia or Belarus.

"BWF stands in full solidarity with the entire international sports movement to call on all parties to stop acts of violence and to restore peace," it added.

Ukraine's health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since Russia's invasion of the country last week. Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

Soccer's governing body FIFA said on Sunday that no international soccer matches will be played in Russia and the Russian flag and anthem will be banned from the team's matches abroad.

Ukraine's motorsports federation calls for ban on Russian drivers

Ukraine's motorsports federation has called on Formula One's governing FIA to ban all Russian and Belarusian license holders from taking part in its competitions, which if accepted could put Russia's Nikita Mazepin out of the sport.

The call for a ban was part of a list of proposals put forward by the Federation Automobile de l'Ukraine (FAU) to Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Sunday in response to a letter written by the FIA president offering the body's full support to the FAU after Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine.

Formula One on Friday said it will not race in Russia this season, adding it was "impossible" to do so under the "current circumstances".

Mazepin already faces an uncertain future with his Haas team set to work on resolving it this week, along with the future of their partnership with Russian potash producer and title sponsor Uralkali, which is owned by Mazepin's father.

The 22-year-old, who drives alongside Mick Schumacher and made his debut last year, has so far raced under a neutral flag as part of doping sanctions imposed on Russia but competes on a Russian license.

Haas, as part of the Uralkali sponsorship deal, have run their cars in a Russian flag-themed livery.

The US-owned team, however, have already taken all Uralkali branding and Russian flag colours off their car, running it in an all-white livery on the final day of Barcelona testing on Friday.

The FIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposals put forward by the Ukrainian federation.

The proposals included calls to prohibit the use of Russian and Belarusian state symbols during FIA events, the holding of FIA events in Russia or Belarus, the staging of events sanctioned by the Russian motorsports federation in the occupied territories of Ukraine and the exclusion of all Russian and Belarusian members from the FIA.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

UEFA cancel Gazprom sponsorship deal

UEFA have cancelled their sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom, European soccer's governing body said on Monday, reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"UEFA has today decided to end its partnership with Gazprom across all competitions. The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024.

The sponsorship deal has been in place since 2012 and has been reported to be worth around 40 million euros per season.

UEFA and FIFA announced on Monday that all Russian national and club teams were suspended from international football.

German soccer club Schalke 04 said on Monday they were cancelling their partnership with Gazprom ahead of schedule.

"Management and the supervisory board are in discussions with representatives of the current main sponsor, further information will be published in due course," Schalke said on Twitter.

The decision does not affect the club's financial capabilities, Schalke, who currently play in the German second tier following the relegation in the 2020-21 season, added in a statement.

The club had already said on Thursday they were removing the logo of Gazprom from their jerseys following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom's UEFA Champions League sponsorship status is currently also in the balance.

Earlier last week, European governing body UEFA moved this year's Champions League final to Paris from St Petersburg where it was scheduled to be played at Gazprom Arena, home to Russian Premier League side FC Zenit.

Russia's gas giant, who sponsored Schalke since 2007, has been also announced as one of the sponsors for the next European Championship, to be played in 2024 in Germany.

Man City's Zinchenko calls for ban on Russian athletes from international competitions

Manchester City and Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko on Monday called for governing bodies of sport to ban Russian athletes from international competitions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Athletes from Ukraine and other nations have called on international bodies to take action after Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea last week following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation."

Zinchenko's plea came shortly before the International Olympic Committee's executive board recommended on Monday that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from events, while FIFA are set to suspend Russia's national teams.

"Exclude Russia from all sports international governing bodies," Zinchenko wrote on Instagram.

"Ban any Russian athletes from participating in any international competitions.

"Stop the sale of rights to broadcasts of international sporting competitions to Russian media. Prohibit Russian companies from being sponsors of international competitions and clubs.

"Support Ukraine with information! Join to sharing true information about actions of the aggressor countries!"

Zinchenko attended a vigil in the centre of Manchester last week to protest against the invasion, and was on the bench in City's 1-0 Premier League win over Everton on Saturday.

City manager Pep Guardiola said Zinchenko will be available to play in their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Championship (second-tier) side Peterborough on Tuesday.

"Absolutely, I think it will be good for him to play and show the reason why he is here, to play football," Guardiola told reporters on Monday.

"He's a magnificent player."

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