Should Russian Athletes be Punished for Russia’s Attack on Ukraine?


Jacob Sanchez, Writer

In light of all the atrocities Russia has inflicted on Ukraine, many sports federations are asking whether Russian athletes continue to compete. Russian teams are potentially being banned from the world’s biggest competitions. Throughout the last few months, Russia has been involved with the war that they have started against Ukraine. Not only has the conflict negatively affected them economically but it has affected them within the world of sports. The globe’s biggest sports organizations have stamped their disgust against the Russians and have instantly threatened their participation in that certain sport.

As a major sports fanatic, I completely agree with the actions that they have done. Russia needs to be banned from major competitions like the European Championship, FIFA World Cup, and the Olympics to show solidarity for the more than 2,000 people that have tragically died and the thousands more that have been injured and devastated.

FIFA, the international governing body of association football, acknowledged the world’s concerns by eliminating Russia from world cup contention in the upcoming UEFA World Cup playoff cycle in late March.  Graham Dunbar of the AP wrote, “The decision opened the way for FIFA, the governing body of soccer, to exclude Russia from the World Cup ahead of the qualifying playoff on March 24. Poland has already refused to play the scheduled game against Russia.” Furthermore, other sport institutions like the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the FIDE (International Chess Federation) have also banned the country, “The IOC said it was needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”

Bruce Kidd, a former olympian and a winner of the second highest honor of Canada, the “Order of Canada” said in a New York Times interview, “‘Mr. Putin, the sports community is so outraged by your repeated violations of human rights, your violation of the basic values of sports and fair play, that we are saying enough is enough,” {…} “We are showing you and your population our abhorrence.” 

Some may argue that the Russian athletes will feel hard done by because they had no control on this topic. To be fair, if Putin and his Russian hierarchy decide to stop the war against Ukraine in the following weeks or few months, there could be a reversal in the ban of Russia teams in future tournaments around the world. 

However, to maintain pressure on the Russian Government, these bans should be shortened rather than fully stopped. By doing this, Russia will still be punished for what they started and it will cause the Russian administration to reconsider starting any war in the future.  

This ban on Russian international teams will cause Russia to make a decision on what they are doing and will cause countries to reconsider their decision regarding starting a war in the future.