How the sporting world has reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent the entire world in shockwaves, which has led to many big personalities and sports authorities condemning the act. 

Why is Putin sending his troops to invade Ukraine? 

Last year Russian President, Vladimir Putin, described Ukraine and Russia as one nation and also described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the disintegration of historical Russia.” Russia’s President doesn’t want Ukraine to become part of NATO as he thinks it will make European countries stronger, which could be a threat for countries like Russia.

However, Ukraine’s intentions were clear, as they want to join NATO, but Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabko has stated, “For us, it’s mandatory to ensure Ukraine never, ever becomes a member of NATO.”

And Vladimir Putin has threatened Ukraine if they try to join NATO then he will send troops to recapture many cities of Ukraine. 

But Russia is not just focused on Ukraine; it wants NATO to return to its pre-1997 borders. And don’t want it to expand an inch to the east, although it did so.

However, now it looks like Mr Putin will not halt his invasion until he recaptures the main part of Ukraine.

 How has the sports world reacted to this incident? 

Many players and big competitions of sports have raised their voices and showed their support towards Ukraine. For example, many players and teams have come together to stand against Russia in Europa League games and other competitions. 

In the Barcelona vs Napoli game, both teams held a banner with a clear message “stop war.” 

There were many similar scenes in Europa League, as players stood united to show their support to Ukraine. Not only football but many other sports also boycotted their competitions which were supposed to occur in Russia. 

The F1 also announced they would remove the branding of title sponsor Uralkali, a Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter. Uralkali is part-owned by the father of Haas driver Nikita Mazepin.

One of the big names of F1, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time Formula 1 champion, has insisted that he will not take part in upcoming September’s Russian Grand Prix. He said, “I’m shocked and sad to see what’s going on, so we will see going forward, but I think my decision is already made.”

Another big name Max Verstappen concurred with Vettel saying, “I think when a country is at war, it’s not correct to race there, that’s for sure,”

“But it’s not only what I think, but it’s also the whole paddock (that is) going to decide what we are going to do next.”

FIFA also intervened in this conflict and condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, informed in his statement - “I was shocked by what I saw. I am worried and concerned about this situation. FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any violence to resolve conflicts. Violence is never a solution, and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue.”

The World Cup qualifiers are scheduled to be played in Russia in late March to be played elsewhere.  

In a sad incident, many Brazilian players have been stranded in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and are pleading to the government to help them escape. 

Football's biggest club competition, UEFA Champions League plans to move the final which was to be played in the Gazprom Arena St Petersburg, Russia. UEFA’s committee will decide in a meeting which is held on Friday. 

Bundesliga club Schalke, who are in the second division, has removed their logo from the main sponsor Gazprom from their jerseys due to the invasion.

IOC also condemned the incident, which claims to be “apolitical” has released a statement “the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government,”

“the UN General Assembly adopted respective UN resolution on 2 December 2021 by consensus of all 193 UN Member States. Accordingly, the Olympic Truce began seven days before the start of the Olympic Games, on 4 February 2022, and ends seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games.”

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