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Sports fraternity presents a unified stance in support of Ukraine

Rahul Naresh Rahul Naresh

Over the past week or two, much of the news has revolved around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With Russia having taken active steps to move into Ukrainian territory, several communities have expressed their resounding rejection of the Russian actions.
The sports community is yet another sphere that has actively tried to let Russia know of its disregard for its actions, and that the community as a whole condemns such actions. Sports teams and governing bodies have been quick to react by calling out breaches of the Olympic truce, omitting Russia-based sponsors from their partnership portfolios.
Here some of the examples, via which the sporting community is providing a unified stance:

Canadian ski cross and aerials teams won’t compete at World Cup events in Russia

The winter sports World Cups due to be held in Russia included ski cross, aerials and snowboarding events. The Canadian athletes who were set to participate in these events have stated that they will not be doing so given the current circumstances, thereby expressing their stance against the Russians.

Gazprom to be removed from Schalke 04 jersey

Russian gas giant Gazprom moved into football quite some time ago and had been sponsoring German side Schalke 04 since October 2006. However, given that Russia chose to declare war against Ukraine, the club have decided to remove the Russian state-owned company’s logo from their jerseys.

FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli players hold “STOP WAR” banner

Any European cup competition in football serves as an excellent stage to highlight social messages. Prior to their second-leg clash in the Europa League Playoffs tie, the players of both FC Barcelona and Napoli held up a “STOP WAR” banner, presenting their unified stance against Russia.

“No war in Ukraine”, displayed Ruslan Malinovskyi during the Ol“No war in Ukraine”, displayed Ruslan Malinovskyi during the Olympiacos-Atalanta game

Players often look to send out important messages during football games. During the second leg of the Olympiacos-Atalanta tie, brace-scoring Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi did the same. During his first goal’s celebration, Malinovskyi took off his shirt, underneath which was an undershirt with the message “No war in Ukraine” written on it.

Haas removed Uralkali from their trucks and cars

Ahead of the final day of pre-season testing, Haas decided to remove their title sponsor Uralkali’s branding from their cars; the company is owned by a Russian billionaire, Dmitry Mazepin. The F1 team have also removed the brand’s name from their trucks.

2022 UEFA Champions League final moved to Paris from St. Petersburg

One of the most significant sporting events is the UEFA Champions League Final. The 2022 UCL final was set to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, in light of recent events, UEFA held an emergency meeting, moving the final to Paris, France.

The IOC and the IPC call Russia’s actions a “breach of the Olympic truce”

Firstlythe International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) each condemned Russia’s attack, calling it a “breach of the Olympic truce”. Secondly, the IOC also urged sports federations to cancel all sporting events that are due to take place either in Russia or Belarus in order to protect athletes.

Sochi Grand Prix cancelled for 2022

F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel had already come out against the Sochi Grand Prix going through in 2022. The FIA responded positively to the concerns raised by the drivers and soon came out strongly with a statement by cancelling the 2022 Sochi Grand Prix due to the developments in Ukraine.

Manchester United end sponsorship agreement with Aeroloft

English football club Manchester United have chosen to terminate their sponsorship agreement with Aeroflot, a Russian flag carrier. A message from one of the biggest football clubs in the world is certain to cause an impact within the sports community.

EHF to review Nord Stream 2 partnership

The European Handball Federation (EHF) announced that they have terminated their Nord Stream 2, the pipeline that transports natural gas to the EU, sponsorship. This means all Nord Stream 2 branding on the LED boards, team jerseys, floor stickers and video cubes will be removed.
Nord Stream 2 was a Reliable Partner since the 2018/19 season.

Andrey Rublev makes his voice heard

Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, who is in Dubai for the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships, wrote – ‘No War Please’ on the TV camera following his semi-final win.

NBA stars stand together

Ukrainian NBA players, Alex Len from the Sacramento Kings and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk from Toronto Raptor released a joint statement which read,
“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine. We categorically condemn the war. Ukraine is a peaceful sovereign state inhabited by people who want to decide their own destiny.”

Real Madrid stand up for Andriy Lunin

Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who is a member of the Real Madrid squad, found support from his Spanish club teammates. Head coach Carlo Ancelotti and other players have showcased solidarity to the footballer while Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos sent out a message.
Kroos released a statement, that said, 
“Important victory, however, you see once again how unimportant football is. I would never have believed that such a thing is still possible today… my thoughts are with all the innocent victims of this war and those who are currently living in big fear.”
Real Madrid’s rivals Atlético de Madrid meanwhile showed their support for Ukraine as they lit up the Wanda Metropolitano in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. 

Eintracht Frankfurt keep it direct

German club Eintracht Frankfurt displayed a strong message ahead of the match against Bayern Munich.
While both teams took a minute’s silence in memory of the victims from the war in Ukraine, Franfurt held out a short yet strong message which read –
‘Stop it Putin’

Roman Abramovich hands over Chelsea’s stewardship and care

Russian businessman and Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich announced that he would be giving up the club’s stewardship and care to the club’s charitable foundation.
Abramovich’s decision came after there was a call in the UK Parliament to freeze his assets and remove him from his ownership role due to his links with the Kremlin and Putin. 

Premier League shows solidarity

Everton players came to face Manchester City draped in the Ukrainian flag while Manchester City players had the Ukrainian flag on their jackets.
The Everton fans also showed their support for their Ukrainian player Vitalii Mykolenko and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko with large banners that had messages of support and solidarity. 
Manchester United and Watford also showed their support for Ukraine as both United and Watford players came together before their match to showcase symbols of peace and the word ‘peace’ in different languages.
West Ham meanwhile gave their Ukrainian player Andriy Yarmolenko, who was born in Russia, time off. 

Sweden boycott Russian match

The Swedish Football Association announced their decision to boycott a possible playoff game against Russia. They also requested FIFA to cancel all the games in which Russia is scheduled to take part.

Lewandowski and Szczesny make their points clear as Poland refuse to play Russia

The Polish Football Association announced that they would not be playing their World Cup qualifier against Russia. Their national team captain also stated that he ‘couldn’t imagine playing a match against Russia.’
Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny also clearly stated that he will refuse to get onto the pitch against Russia.

Medvedev hopes for peace 

World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev spoke about the Russia – Ukraine war at the Mexican Open.
The Russian player said,
“By being a tennis player I want to promote peace all over the world.
‘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.”

Yastremska leaves Ukraine

Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska released a statement on her social media handles informing that her parents had sent herself and her sister out of the country following Russia’s invasion. 
Yastremska is scheduled to play in the Lyon Open from February 28. 

Klitschko ready to fight for Ukraine

Boxing legend and former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv announced that he would be joining forces with the Ukrainians for fights against the Russians.
Klitschko said,
 “I don’t have another choice. I have to do that… I will be fighting.
‘I believe. I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people.”

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