Monday, June 27, 2022

European hockey bans Russia and Belarus athletes from competition amid Ukraine invasion

European hockey has banned the participation of all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from all its sanctioned events “for the foreseeable future”.

The move, backed by the national governing bodies in Great Britain, follows the recommendation on Monday by the International Olympic Committee to recommend these athletes be prevented from competing in global competition in a bid to isolate and condemn Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

The European Hockey Federation executive board “fully endorses and supports this decision by the IOC”, the body said in a statment on Tuesday.

It added: “We hope that a peaceful resolution will be found soon, and we continue to closely monitor the situation in cooperation with our Member National Associations and in line with our earlier statement offering our full support to the Ukraine Hockey Federation.

“We will announce the impact of this decision on upcoming events in the coming days.”

Ukraine’s national indoor team

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has yet to make a statement following the IOC’s edict on Monday.

The FIH did announce yesterday that the world body was “deeply concerned about the safety of the members of Ukraine’s hockey community and ensures all of them of its full solidarity at this terrible time.

“FIH is in regular contact with the Hockey Association of Ukraine and is doing its utmost to offer any support it can.”

The Ukrainian team is set to participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup next month in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

The boards of Great Britain Hockey, England Hockey, Scottish Hockey and Hockey Wales also fully supported the EHF’s decision.

A statement said: “We additionally support the International Hockey Federation (FIH)’s decision to exclude the Russian team from the upcoming Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup and fully expect that decision to extend to other FIH events. For clarity, we will not compete against Russian or Belarusian national teams under any other banner.

The IOC said on Monday that it was acting with “a heavy heart” as it asked all sports to ban both Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials.

The statement said: “In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC executive board 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.”

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