In recent weeks Russia has launched a full blown invasion of the bordering nation to the south, Ukraine. This invasion has caused a global crisis and sparked protests all over the world. Hundreds of Ukrainian people have died from the attack from the Russian military ordered by the controversial Vladimir Putin. The conflict has had negative effects on the world of sporting and leaving many russian athletes infuriated with their own country's actions and how it has affected them. Internationally Russia already has a bad name especially in sports due to their past occurrences in sports.
Russia has faced backlash from all over the world and sanctions and bans have been handed out to several organizations in relation with Russia. The world of soccer or known as football to the rest of the world have not taken Russia’s actions lightly. Several teams and players have expressed their protest against the invasion. This picture shows Ruslan Malinovskyi, a Ukrainian Serie A midfielder for Atalanta in Italy showing his feeling towards the war with an undershirt saying “No war in Ukraine”.
Large soccer organizations like FIFA and the English Premier League have created rules against Russian soccer organizations. FIFA has banned Russia from competing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This is a very big deal because the World Cup is one of the largest sporting events in the world. Electronic Arts, also known as EA has also removed Russia from the popular video game, Fifa 22, making the international team unusable for players. The English Premier League also showed backlash to Russia by banning the streaming of Premier League games on Russian television. All of the bans and rules are all to punish Russia for their actions and it is sad to see athletes and regular citizens of Russia suffer the consequences when they have no control of what their country does.
As well as the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League has also been affected by the war in Ukraine. The Champions League is the largest sporting club competition in the world and it occurs every year. This year the final was set to be held in the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. However, with the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia the board of UEFA decided to move the final from St. Petersburg to Paris, France. The Champions League final is one of the most watched games in the entire world bringing millions of dollars of revenue to the host city. This decision is another stab in the back of Russia’s economy and sporting world.
Speaking of the Champions League, the winners of the competition, Chelsea, are in need of a new owner after Roman Abramovich, their now former owner, decided to sell the club and donate a large portion of the money to victims of the war in Ukraine. The Russian oligarch billionaire felt the need to sell the multi-billion dollar club to help end the war and express his detachment from Russia and its leaders. The gesture is unmatched and it is amazing that a man is willing to sacrifice his job and billions of dollars to help the cause against the war and clear his name.
Many other big teams in Europe have also ended sponsorship deals with Russian companies. Russia’s ties to the sport of soccer are being cut one by one as the war continues on and it is only going to get worse from here. It is incredible to see a sport come together and display their views against the war and help to end the war in the ways they can. This unity shows how powerful a community can be when it comes together to fight for what they believe in and this behavior needs to be displayed more all over the world.