IOC urges sports world to move, cancel events located in Russia, Belarus

IOC Olympics
The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board urged all international sports federations to relocate or cancel any events scheduled to be held in either Russia or Belarus Friday. 

The call to action comes after the IOC condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, citing that they breached the Olympic Truce that begins seven days before the start of an Olympic Games and seven days. after the closing of the Paralympic Games — which run from March 4-13. 

“They should take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments into account and give the safety and security of their athletes absolute priority,” the statement read. “The IOC itself has no events planned in Russia or Belarus.” 

[ALSO READ: IOC condemns Russia for breaching Olympic truce by invading Ukraine]

The IOC also urged that Russian or Belarussian flags should not be displayed nor anthems played at any international events — which is not already part of the sanctions placed on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). 

Widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs saw Russia stripped of its status at each of the last three Olympic Games, forcing athletes from the country to compete under the “ROC” moniker, which stands for Russian Olympic Committee. The Russian flag and anthem has not been featured.

“The IOC EB expresses its deep concerns about the safety of the members of the Olympic Community in Ukraine and stands in full solidarity,” the statement continued. “It notes that the special IOC task force is in contact with the Olympic Community in the country to coordinate humanitarian assistance where possible.

“The IOC EB asks the task force to continue to closely monitor the situation and to keep the IOC EB informed and updated, also with regard to potential amendments of today’s resolution.”

Outside of the Olympics, the UEFA Champions League — which decides the continental championship amongst domestic European soccer teams — is moving its final from St. Petersburg, which was scheduled for May 28.