FIS Bans Russian Athletes from All Competitions

The International Ski Federation has said athletes from Russia and Belarus can not take part in any further events this season. The organisation has been under growing pressure and has been criticised by some for being slow to react to the crisis in Ukraine. NEW & UPDATED

The FIS Council met after the International Olympic Committee recommended that all International Federations stop the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in their competitions.

We reported on the IOC statement on PlanetSKI:

“To ensure the safety and security of all athletes at FIS competitions, the FIS Council decided unanimously, in line with the IOC recommendation, that with immediate effect, no Russian or Belarusian athlete shall participate in any FIS competition at any level through the end of the 2021-2022 season,” said a statement from the International Ski Federation.

“The FIS Council does not take the decision lightly not to allow any athlete to participate in any competition and is only doing so in accordance with the FIS Statues, which states ‘FIS shall conduct its activities in a politically neutral manner’, which is a cornerstone of the FIS values adopted by its 140 member nations.”

Today, Wednesday 2nd March, the International Paralympic Committee meets to discuss the involvement of Russia and Belarus in the Beijing paralymics that are due to start this Friday.

We will be updating you on the outcome later on PlanetSKI.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022. Image c/o IOC.

The latest move by FIS came after pressure from Norway, and other skiing nations and is being see as a U-turn.

Norway topped the medals table at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“Over the last few days we at the Norwegian Ski Federation have been working intensely, and I am very satisfied that the FIS Council now have concluded that Russia and Belarus are excluded from upcoming events,” said Norwegian Ski Federation President Erik Røste.

His comments were reported on Inside the Games.

Norway is due to hold the Ski Flying World Championships later this month, plus cross-country, Nordic combined, Alpine and ski jumping World Cup events.

Erik Røste, following talks with local organisers, says that solidarity with Ukraine will be shown at World Cups in Norway.

“Through our events, we will reach millions of TV viewers around the world, and they will not be in doubt about the Norwegian people’s support and sympathy for the Ukrainian people,” the Norwegian Ski Federation President  said.

Norway at 2019 World Championships, Seefeld. Image © PlanetSKI

Norway at 2019 World Championships, Seefeld. Image © PlanetSKI

Last Friday, the International Ski Federation, FIS, announced it was cancelling all remaining World Cup snowsports competitions due to be held in Russia.

It did not, however, ban Russian snowsports athletes or officials from taking part in international events.

The International Olympic Commitee has also withdrawn the Olympic Order from the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak.

Russia hosted the Winter Olympics 8 years ago in Sochi.

Russia hosts Winter Olympics. Image © PlanetSKI

Russia hosts Winter Olympics. Image © PlanetSKI

FIS has expressed its “deepest and sincerest hope that the conflict in Ukraine will come to an end quickly” and that the international sports community “can begin the process of healing and once again compete with all athletes and nations present”.

FIS, in solidarity with the Ski Federation of Ukraine, is providing immediate financial, logistical and technical support to Ukrainian athletes and teams until they are safely able to return home.

On Tuesday March 2nd UK Sport issued a statement on Ukraine Crisis:

UK Sport statement on Russia and Belarus

UK Sport calls on all International Federations to take the strongest possible sporting sanctions against Russia and Belarus and we are working closely with colleagues in government and sports and partners across the Olympic and Paralympic family to enable this.

We must be clear with Russia and their allies that their appalling actions will not be tolerated within the international sporting community and will have consequences.

Sport has the ability to bring communities across the world together and in these darkest of hours, we must stand united.

Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and our friends and colleagues in Ukraine at this terrible time.