Impact of Russia-Ukraine war on sports

Sporting community has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, sea and air on Thursday which has affected sporting activities around the world.

The war was also condemned by the sporting community along with messages for peace and unity.

It must be noted that Russia's assault is the biggest on a European country since World War Two.

Timeline of events

March 23: FINA bans Russian, Belarusian athletes from 2022 world championships

Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials have been banned from this year's world championships in Budapest, swimming's global governing body, FINA, announced on Wednesday.

"The FINA Bureau met today and confirmed that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus will not take part in the upcoming 19th FINA World Championships Budapest 2022," it said in a statement.

"Following these decisions, FINA was informed by the Russian Swimming Federation of the withdrawal of all Russian aquatics athletes from all FINA events for the rest of this year.

"The FINA Bureau also decided to remove the hosting of the FINA Swimming World Championships 2022 from Kazan. The scheduled dates of 17-22 December 2022 will be maintained, and FINA is currently in discussions with potential hosts to take over the event."

March 19: FIFA Foundation helps victims of war in Ukraine

"Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the FIFA Foundation has been involved in several activities to help victims by working alongside the local and regional football community. An initial shipment of humanitarian supplies has already been delivered to the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF), while a total of USD 1 million has been allocated for action to be taken," FIFA said in a statement.

"The needs and response are being evaluated and developed in close coordination between the FIFA Foundation, the UEFA Foundation for Children, FIFA, UEFA, the UAF and FIFA member associations, as well as other football, sport and humanitarian stakeholders," the statement added.

March 18: Federer to donate $500,000 to support Ukrainian child refugees

Legendary Tennis player Roger Federer will donate $500,000 to support Ukrainian child refugees.

"My family and I are horrified seeing pictures from Ukraine and heartbroken for the innocent people who have been so terribly affected. We stand for peace," he said in a statement.

March 16: Former Ukrainian Tennis player forced to take up arms

Former Ukrainian Tennis player Alex Dolgopolov forced to take up arms because of the Russian invasion.

March 16: Real Madrid to donate one million euros to help displaced people in Ukraine

Spanish football club Real Madrid will donate one million euros to the "Everyone with Ukraine" campaign as part of the effort to help alleviate the humanitarian needs of those displaced in Ukraine.

The La Liga leaders said the funds would be donated to the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organisations working on the ground in Ukraine.

March 15: Medvedev's participation in Wimbledon depends on political assurance

Tennis star Daniil Medvedev may have to provide assurances that he does not back Russian president Vladimir Putin in order to participate in this year's Wimbledon, according to British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

"Many countries have agreed that they will not allow representatives from Russia to compete. There are also visa issues as well. When it comes to individuals, that is more complex," Huddleston said at a select committee in parliament.

"Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled."

March 14: Australia to replace Russia in Billie Jean King Cup Finals

The International Tennis Federation Board of Directors has confirmed the process for replacing the Russian and Belarusian teams during the 2022 Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup seasons, according to an official statement.

As 2021 champions, the RTF team had qualified automatically for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals. The ITF Board has confirmed that RTF’s position in the Finals will go to the highest-ranked losing semi-finalist in 2021, Australia.

Belarus were due to compete in the Qualifiers on 15-16 April 2022. Their opponents, Belgium, will receive a walkover and advance directly to the 2022 Finals. 

March 12: Why were Russian, Belarusian athletes banned from Beijing Winter Games?

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons has opened up about the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Beijing Winter Games.

"No one can be happy with the outcome. Not allowing them to compete for any reason is not good, not positive," Parsons told reporters.

"But our movement was asking us for more. It was absolutely imperative that we changed our decision ... we don't like when politics gets mixed with sport, but we have our limits and we had to listen to our members.

"We don't want governments to influence our decisions ... but it was impossible to separate sport from the rest of the world due to the magnitude of the situation in Europe."

March 11: Buyers interested in Chelsea can approach UK government

Anyone interested in buying Chelsea Football Club can approach the British government.

Earlier, the sale of Chelsea Football Club was halted due to UK government's sanctions on owner Roman Abramovic.

"As the license conditions are written today, the sale would not be allowed. However, if a buyer emerged it would be open to that buyer or to that football club to approach the government and ask for the conditions to be varied in a way that allows that sale to take place," Britain's technology minister Chris Philp told Sky News.

March 10: Britain imposes asset freezes on Roman Abramovic

Britain has imposed asset freezes on seven Russian businessmen including Chelsea FC Owner Roman Abramovic as part of new UK government sanctions targeting seven Russian oligarchs.

The sanctions will come into effect before the sale of the football club.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said that a special license will be given to Chelsea which will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches. However, the sale of the club will be halted.

March 10: Ukraine Paralympics team honour country's fallen

March 9: FIFA postpones Ukraine's World Cup qualification playoff against Scotland

FIFA has taken key decisions in relation to the European play-off matches for the World Cup in Qatar this year, following consultation with UEFA and the participating FIFA member associations.

The match between Scotland and Ukraine, initially set to take place on March 24, 2022, has been rescheduled for June.

Meanwhile, Poland has been given bye to Path B final, due to suspension of all Russia teams, where they will play either Sweden or Czech Republic.

March 8: Murray pledges prize money to Ukraine war victims

Former world number one Andy Murray will donate his prize money from tennis tournaments for the rest of the year to UNICEF's Ukraine appeal.

The 34-year-old made the announcement on his official Twitter account.

March 8: FIFA opens special transfer window for foreign players in Russia

FIFA has decided to open a special transfer window for foreign players stranded in Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine.

"In order to facilitate the departure of foreign players and coaches from Russia, in the event that clubs affiliated to the Football Union of Russia (FUR) do not reach a mutual agreement with their respective foreign players and coaches before or on 10 March 2022 ... the foreign players and coaches will have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts with the FUR-affiliated clubs in question until the end of the season in Russia (30 June 2022)," FIFA said in a statement.

"The suspension of a contract... will mean that players and coaches will be considered 'out of contract' until 30 June 2022 and will therefore be at liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind."

March 7: IJF removes Putin, Rotenberg from all positions

Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with a Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg, has been removed from all positions in the International Judo Federation (IJF).

Putin, a black belt, was also suspended as IJF honorary president last week. Meanwhile, Rotenberg had served as IJF Executive Committee Development Manager since 2013.

"The International Judo Federation announces that Mr Vladimir Putin and Mr Arkady Rotenberg have been removed from all positions held in the International Judo Federation," IJF said in a brief statement.

March 6: Novak Djokovic offers financial support to Sergiy Stakhovsky

Novak Djokovic has offered financial support to Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Stakhovsky, who defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, last week revealed he had signed up for Ukraine's military reserves.

March 5: Haas terminate Russian racer Mazepin's contract

Russian Nikita Mazepin will not participate in the Formula One this season after his U.S.-owned Haas squad on Saturday severed ties with the 23-year-old and title sponsor Uralkali.

“Haas F1 team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin," the team said in a statement.

"As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”

Russian driver Mazepin "very disappointed" by Haas decision to drop him, while sharing his thoughts in an Instagram post.

March 4: Yastremska wants to win for war-torn Ukraine

Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska is focused on winning for her country after reaching the quarter-finals of the Lyon Open.

The tennis player was forced to flee her home after Russia's invaded Ukraine last week.

"Today definitely was a little bit easier with my emotions," Yastremska said. "I could keep them under control, so I'm very happy with that."

"Yesterday I tried to recover as fast as possible to prepare for my match and I'm still very nervous because I really want to win the matches for my country."

March 3: Abramovich has 'come to the right conclusion': PL Chief

English Premier League Chief Richard Masters has backed Roman Abramovich's decision to sell Chelsea Football Club.

"I think the situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he's come to the right conclusion," Masters told the Financial Times Football Business Summit. "It's unsustainable in the current environment.

"So it's a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody, including the fans, as soon as the sale process concludes everyone has certainty.

"I think the quickest one (sale of a Premier League club)we've ever done is 10 days. That's not to say it can't be beaten, but normally they take a number of weeks. It depends on the complexity of the information available."

March 3: Russian, Belarus athletes banned from Winter Paralympics

Russian and Belarusian athletes won't be allowed to compete in the Beijing Winter Paralympics, the International Paralympic Committee announced Thursday, due to the war in Ukraine.

"In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus," the IPC said in a statement.

The ban was a reversal of a decision the previous day to allow the athletes to participate in the Games, which start on Friday.

Multiple Paralympics Committees, teams and athletes had threatened not to compete if the Russian and Belarusian athletes were allowed, "jeapordizing the viability" of the Games.

"Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable," the statement said.

March 2: Abramovich to sell Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich has confirmed that he will sell the club.

Pressure was building on the Russian billionaire as the UK Members of Parliament were of the opinion that Abramovich shouldn't own the club because of the latter's ties with Vladimir Putin's regime. There was also threat of sanctions following Russian's invasion of Ukraine.

"I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners," Abramovich said in an official press release issued by Chelsea.

"Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club," he further stated.

"I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart," he added.

Abramovich also said that all net proceeds from the sale will be donated to the victims of the war in Ukraine.

"The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery," he concluded.

March 2: Svitolina aims to unite tennis world

Wearing Ukraine's blue and gold colours, tennis star Elina Svitolina eased past Russian Anastasia Potapova in Mexico on Tuesday and is keen on uniting the tennis world behind her country.

"I think it's my mission to unite our tennis community to stand with Ukraine, to help Ukraine because what we're going through is a horrible thing for all Ukrainians," former world number three Svitolina said after the match.

"That's why I'm here. That's why I'm playing for my country and doing my best using my platform and using my resources to introduce that and try to invite people to support Ukraine."

March 2: Abramovich trying to sell Chelsea football club

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has revealed that Roman Abramovich, Russian billionaire, is trying to sell Chelsea due to threat of sanctions by the UK.  

"Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly," Wyss told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich. I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him £2bn. But Chelsea has no money. As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price."

March 2: Russian, Belarusian athletes can compete as neutrals at Beijing Winter Games

Russian and Belarusian athletes can participate in the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing as neutrals, according to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

"They will compete under the Paralympic flag and not be included in the medal table," the IPC said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Games are scheduled to start from Friday and end on March 13.

March 1: Joint statement by governing bodies of tennis

  • The WTA and ATP Boards have made the decision to suspend the WTA / ATP combined event, scheduled this October in Moscow.
  • The ITF Board has made the decision to suspend the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation membership and to withdraw their entries from all ITF international team competition until further notice. This action follows the cancellation of all ITF tournaments in Russia and Belarus indefinitely.
  • At this time, players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete in international tennis events on Tour and at the Grand Slams. However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice.

March 1: Russia, Belarus ice skaters banned

Russian and Belarus ice skaters have been banned from all competitions by the International Skating Union.

"The ISU Council... agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia and Belarus shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating competitions," the body said in a statement on Tuesday.

March 1: Russia, Belarus suspended by World Rugby

In an press release, the World Rugby Executive Committee has today decided to take immediate additional steps to protect the rugby family and take a strong stance against the conflict in line with recommendations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC):

  • The full and immediate suspension of Russia and Belarus from all international rugby and cross-border club rugby activities until further notice.
  • The full and immediate suspension of the Rugby Union of Russia from World Rugby membership until further notice.

February 28: FIFA/UEFA ban Russia from all competitions

FIFA and UEFA have decided to ban Russia from all football competitions.

The earlier stance of Football's governing body, where it only banned matches in Russia along with no flag or anthem for the team, had faced heavy criticism on social media.

The decision will also mean that Russia will be excluded from the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qualifying round.

"Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which decisions envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice," FIFA said in a statement.

"Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people," the statement concluded.

February 28: Abramovich helping Ukraine negotiate for peace

According to Jewish News, Russian billionaire and Premier League club Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich has accepted a Ukrainian request to help negotiate a "peaceful resolution" due to his close ties with Vladimir Putin’s regime.

"I can confirm Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since," a spokeswoman for Abramovich said. "Considering what is at stake, we would ask for understanding as to why we have not commented on either the situation as such or his involvement."

February 28: IOC recommends excluding Russian, Belarusian athletes from international events

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in international events.

"In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions," IOC said in a statement.

"Wherever this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB strongly urges International Sports Federations and organisers of sports events worldwide to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed," it added.

February 28: FINA calls off World Junior Championships in Russia

February 28: BWF cancels all tournaments in Russia, Belarus

Badminton World Federation (BWF) has cancelled all sanctioned tournaments set to take place in Russia and Belarus.

February 28: FIFA bans matches in Russia

Football's governing body, FIFA, has decided to take the following measures against Russia:

1- No international competition shall be played on the territory of Russia, with “home” matches being played on neutral territory and without spectators.

2- The member association representing Russia shall participate in any competition under the name “Football Union of Russia (RFU)” and not “Russia”.

3- No flag or anthem of Russia will be used in matches where teams from the Football Union of Russia participate.

"FIFA will continue its ongoing dialogue with the IOC, UEFA and other sport organisations to determine any additional measures or sanctions, including a potential exclusion from competitions, that shall be applied in the near future should the situation not be improving rapidly. The Bureau of the FIFA Council remains on standby to take any of these decisions," it added.

List of countries that have refused to play against Russia:

  • Scotland
  • England
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic
  • Ireland

February 27: English football stands united with Ukraine

The English FA have released a statement saying no English national teams will play against Russia out of solidarity with Ukraine.

February 27: International Judo Federation suspends Putin as honorary president

February 27: Czech FA refuses to play potential World Cup qualifier against Russia

The Czech Republic have decided against playing potential World Cup qualifier against Russia.

The Czech are the third country to make this call after Poland and Sweden announced on Saturday they would not participate in the qualifiers in March to decided who will play 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"The FA executive committee approved unanimously the decision that the Czech national team will under no circumstances play the possible game against Russia's team in the 2022 World Cup qualification," the Czech FA said.

"The executive committee tasked FA chairman Petr Fousek and secretary general Michal Valter to talk to UEFA and FIFA in regards to the decision of the executive committee not to play the possible game against Russia."

February 27: Support for Ukraine on the football field

February 26: Roman Abramovich hands Chelsea 'stewardship and care' to club's charity trust

Chelsea Football Club's owner Roman Abramovich has stepped away from controlling the club following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The UK Members of Parliament are of the opinion that Abramovich, who hails from Russia, shouldn't own the club because of the latter's ties with Vladimir Putin's regime.

"I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC," Abramovich said in a statement released by the club.

"I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans," he added.

February 26: Boxing great Wladimir Klitschko urges world to prevent 'humanitarian catastrophe'

Former world boxing heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko appealed to the world on Saturday to stop war in his native Ukraine before it’s too late.   

"I'm addressing the entire world to stop this war that Russia has started," he said in a video posted online.

"There's no time to wait because it's going to lead into a humanitarian catastrophe. You need to act now to stop Russian aggression with anything you can have now. In an hour, or by tomorrow it's going to be too late," he added.

Wladimir also joined in Ukraine's reserve army earlier this month. 

February 26: Svitolina shocked by ‘terrible nightmare’

Ukraine tennis star and world number 15 Elina Svitolina has opened up the ongoing crisis in her home country.

"I'm shocked at this terrible nightmare," Svitolina told Sky Sports News "I'm really praying every single minute for my family, for my friends, for all people in Ukraine and around the world for safety, for peace.”

"I'm very safe compared to them so. To be honest with you, I'm only thinking about them and for me it's a very stressful time because I cannot do anything. I cannot really help them. I wish I could help them. It's extremely tough mentally for me. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I'm just praying,” she added.

"It's a horrible situation for the people in Ukraine, what they have to go through without sleepless nights, without food and electricity so that's horrible. For me, it's heartbreaking to hear this,” she further stated. "The war is something we have to stop and it's something better than anything else. What is happening is very tough for me to imagine."

February 26: Poland, Sweden decide against playing World Cup matches with Russia

Poland has decided against playing the football World Cup qualifier against Russia next month, the president of Poland's Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, and players including captain Robert Lewandowski said on Saturday.

Kulesza added that the association was in talks with its Swedish and Czech counterparts regarding playoff matches scheduled for March to fill a slot for the World Cup.

“In light of the escalation of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, the Polish national team is not going to play a match against Russian Republic,” Kulesza said on Twitter.

“This is the only right decision. We are in talks with Swedish and Czech association to present a common position to FIFA.”

Russia is set to host Poland in the semis of the World Cup playoffs on March 24 and, if its team goes through, is scheduled to host either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 in the Path B final.

Polish captain Lewandowski wrote on Twitter: "I can't imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues."

Soon after, the Swedish FA also announced that its team would not play against the Russians regardless of the venue of the match.

"The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football exchanges with Russia impossible," Swedish Football Association chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said.

"We therefore urge FIFA to decide that the playoff matches in March in which Russia participates will be cancelled. But regardless of what FIFA chooses to do, we will not play against Russia in March."

February 26: UCF CEO stuck in flat with four dogs

The Chief Executive of Ukraine Cricket Federation (UCF), Kobus Olivier, is stuck inside his flat with four dogs, after Russian invasion.

Speaking to Reuters, Olivier, who hails from South Africa, said that his dream of Ukraine becoming an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July and the dogs are keeping him sane at the moment.

"I'm coping the best [I can] under the circumstances," Oliver said. "I'm not being brave, I'm absolutely terrified, but there's nothing you can do. It is what it is."

Speaking about the dogs, he said: "They lie next to me and watch TV. Every now and then I give them little snacks. They are very calm, but when there's an explosion, they are absolutely terrified."

February 26: Is Roman Abramovich selling Chelsea?

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who bought Chelsea Football Club in 2003, is not on sanctions list, at the moment, but his future remains uncertain as Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled Britain's largest-ever package of sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

According to Bloomberg, "Sports investors and private equity firms, including some from the U.S., have begun to draw up potential takeover offers for the London team, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Chelsea has already fielded one enquiry this month, one of the people said". 

February 25: Zinchenko ready to play despite invasion of home country

Premier League side Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola has stated that his Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has been affected by situation in his home country but remains ready to play if called upon.

Zinchenko had also taken part in a vigil in the centre of Manchester on Thursday to protest against the invasion.

"What would you do if someone abroad attacked the UK? It's how he feels," Guardiola said when asked at a news conference about Zinchenko's involvement in the protest.

"It's a worry, what we feel with our country where we were born. Killing innocent people, how would you feel? I guess that's how he feels.

"Of course it's close to him. Of course he has our support. It happen(ed) in the country he was born, he loves, it's attacked from outside. He's tough and knows we are here," added the Spaniard.

February 25: IOC urges federations to move or cancel events in Russia, Belarus

International sports federations should either move or cancel sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Friday.

"The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee reiterated today the IOC's strong condemnation of the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government and the government of Belarus through its support in this," the IOC said in a statement.

February 25: Russian Grand Prix called off

The Formula One race was set to take place in September.

February 25: Moscow to face Leipzig in Europa League

Russian side Spartak Moscow will lock horns with RB Leipzig in the round of 16 of the Europa League.

The two teams will play the first leg in Germany on March 10.

The second leg will take place on March 17 but the venue for the second leg is yet to be confirmed.

February 25: World Cup skiing events cancelled or moved

Five World Cup skiing events, which were set to be hosted by Russia, have been cancelled or moved, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said on Friday.

"FIS has decided that in the interest of the safety of all participants and to maintain the integrity of the World Cup, that all remaining World Cup events scheduled to take place in Russia between now and the end of the 2021-22 season will be cancelled or moved to another location," it said in a statement.

"Participants are already on site at the two World Cup events that were planned for this weekend [Ski Cross and Aerials] and FIS is working closely with the involved stakeholders to ensure their quick return back home," it added.

February 25: Tennis world number one concerned over Ukraine crisis  

Russian Daniil Medvedev is determined to promote peace around the world after he was confirmed as the world's top ranked tennis player.

"By being a tennis player I want to promote peace all over the world," the 26-year-old said.

"We play in so many different countries. I've been in so many different countries as a junior and as a pro. It's just not easy to hear all this news. I'm all for peace."

February 25: Multiple countries pull out of Russia ski cross World Cup

The Ski Association of Japan have decided against participating in ski cross World Cup event in Russia, according to news agency Kyodo.

A host of other nations have also pulled out of the event, including Australia and Canada.

February 25: Paris to host UCL final

UEFA have confirmed that Paris will host this year's Champions League final, instead of Saint Petersburg.

"UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis. Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement," UEFA said in a press release.

February 25: Ukrainian basketball team stranded in Spain

A charter flight due to take Ukrainian basketball team from Madrid to Kyiv on Friday morning was cancelled.

The Ukrainian side was in Spain for their match, which the home side won by 88-74.

"The sold-out crowd gave the Ukrainian team a standing ovation as some players burst into tears after the match," according to Mirror.

February 24: Napoli and Barca united against war

Players of Napoli and FC Barcelona assembled behind a banner with the words 'stop war' ahead of their UEFA Europa League match.

February 24: Rublev pleads for peace

Russian Tennis star Andrey Rublev posted a photo on Instagram of two characters hugging each other using colours of flags of Russia and Ukraine.

He also shed light on how tough it was to step on court during the ongoing ATP tournament in Dubai.

"In these moments you realise that my match is not important. It's not about my match, how it affects me. What's happening is much more terrible," the Olympic gold medallist said.

"You realise how important it is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what, to be united. It's about that we should take care of our Earth and of each other. This is the most important thing," he added.

February 24: UEFA to move UCL final from Saint Petersburg

UEFA are set to move this season’s Champions League final from Saint Petersburg, in Russia, due to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.

The decision will be taken during Friday's “extraordinary meeting” of the Executive Committee.

February 24: Vettel boycotts Russian Grand Prix

Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel said he will not participate in September's grand prix in Russia's Sochi.

"My own opinion is I should not go," Vettel said. "I'm sorry for the innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed for stupid reasons and a very, very strange and mad leadership."

February 24: Mesut Özil posts a powerful message on Twitter

Former Real Madrid footballer Mesut Özil posts a picture worth a thousand words on his official Twitter handle.

February 24: IOC condemns 'breach of Olympic Truce'

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has condemned Russian government for breaching the Olympic Truce.

The Olympic Truce, which began seven days before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 4, ends seven days after the closing of the March 4-13 Paralympic Games.

"The International Olympic Committee strongly condemns the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government," it said in a statement.

"The respective UN (United Nations) resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 December 2021 by consensus of all 193 UN Member States," it added.

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.






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