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How Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Has Impacted The World Of Sport

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Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine sent tremors across the world, and in addition to the geopolitical and economic effects of such a move, the sports industry has also been majorly impacted by this ongoing war. Following Vladimir Putin’s decision to use military force on the 24th of February 2022, Russia is facing expulsion from international sporting competitions as sporting bodies have joined the collective movement to place sanctions on the country to isolate Russia from the world.

European football clubs and competitions are severing their ties with Russian companies, sports organisations are taking their events out of the country, and federations from across the world are refusing to play Russia in any match at any level.

Here is how Russia’s Ukrainian invasion has impacted the world of sport.

Sponsorship Deals and Champions League Final


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Manchester United have announced they have ended their deal with Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot, a decision that was made shortly after the UK announced that Aeroflot is banned from flying in its airspace. German giants Schalke have also removed the name of Russian state-owned Gas company Gazprom from their shirts, while UEFA have also terminated their sponsorship agreement with major sponsor Gazprom – a deal that is likely to cost them $45 million a year.

Following an emergency meeting, UEFA have also announced that the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final has been moved away from the ‘Gazprom Arena’ in St. Petersburg and will now be played at the Stade de France in Paris instead.

Football in Ukraine


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The Ukraine domestic football league was slated to restart following the winter break on the 25th of February. However, with the imposition of martial law in Ukraine, the matches have now been postponed for a minimum of 30 days.

Russian Grand Prix and Nikita Mazepin


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Formula 1 have cancelled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix, stating that it would be ‘impossible’ to host the race in the country in the current climate. Haas F1 Team have also decided to remove all branding of their title sponsor and Russian potash producer Uralkali from its cars, with the team sporting a plain white livery during pre-season testing in Barcelona last week.

There is also uncertainty surrounding the future of Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin, who is the son of major Uralkali shareholder – Dmitry Mazepin – a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FIA is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss Mazepin’s future in F1 considering the current crisis, and the Russian driver could be banned from racing outside his own country following the Automobile Federation of Ukraine’s request to suspend all Russian license holders.

FIFA suspends Russia from international football


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The biggest sporting ramification of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been FIFA’s decision to suspend Russian teams from all football events, including the 2022 World Cup in November, until further notice. This decision from the top sporting body in football came days after Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden refused to play against Russia in the upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches in March.

UEFA have also announced that Russian clubs will be suspended from this season’s European competitions, resulting in Spartak Moscow being unable to play their Europa League round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig, thereby handing the German side automatic qualification through to the quarter-finals.

Russia also faces a potential ban from the upcoming football Women’s European Championships scheduled in England this summer, and other sporting bodies such as the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have recommended all federations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams from any competitions and relocate or cancel any events scheduled in those countries.