As the violence in Ukraine intensifies, athletes and sports organizations around the world are responding.
Here are a few examples of the ways in which the world of sports is handling the conflict.
Motorsports governing body suspends licenses issued to Russia and Belarus: Motorsport UK announced on Wednesday that the licenses issued to Russia and Belarus have been suspended “with immediate effect.”The governing body for four-wheel in the UK said that no Russian and Belarusian licensed teams are approved to enter competitions in the country or participate in motorsports events. In addition, no Russian and Belarusian national symbols, colors, flags on uniforms, equipment and cars will be displayed at Motorsport UK permitted events.
“The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict,” David Richards CBE, chair of Motorsport UK, said in a statement.
“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU).”
NHL’s Senators will play Ukrainian national anthem prior to all home games
The National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators have pledged to play the Ukrainian national anthem ahead of the opening face-off at every remaining home game this season.
To show support for the “valiant efforts of the Ukrainian people,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced Wednesday that the Ukrainian anthem will be played along with the Canadian and US national anthems.
The Senators have 13 regular-season games remaining. The team’s next home game is March 10.
“We are all Ukrainians,” said Melnyk, who is Canadian and said his parents are from Ukraine.
He continued in an open letter, “The unprovoked assault and unnecessary campaign, economic and social destruction of a sovereign country is unspeakable and unacceptable in a civilized world.
“And, while the images from Ukraine show courage and resilience, they’re also a cry out for help.”
The team pledges to help raise money through game day raffles and utilize its home arena for charitable causes to help humanitarian aid efforts.
The Senators shared Melnyk’s open letter on Twitter. You can read that here:
Swiss billionaire wants to buy famed football team from Russian billionaire
Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss says he wants to buy Chelsea F.C. from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich announced that he plans to give the “stewardship” of Chelsea Football Club over to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
“I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC. I believe … they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans,” Abramovich wrote in a statement.
Abramovich is understood to want to retain his ownership of the club — which he has had since 2003 — but is reportedly concerned about possible UK sanctions and subsequent reputational damage.
Wyss, who founded medical device firm Synthes USA, says he and three other people received an offer to buy Chelsea from Abramovich, but there is no fixed selling price.
“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owes him two billion. But Chelsea has no money,” Wyss said.
EA Sports pulls Russian teams and clubs from video games: EA Sports will remove the Russian national team and all Russian club teams from FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile, FIFA online, and NHL 22, the video game company announced on Wednesday.
“EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine,” EA Sports FIFA said in a statement. “In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile, and FIFA Online. We will keep our communities up to date on any actions taken, and thank players for their patience as we work through these updates.”
EA Sports NHL added the following additional remarks, “Following the IIHF’s suspension of all Russian and Belarusian national and club teams from IIHF competitions, we will be removing these teams from NHL 22 within the coming weeks. We stand with the people of Ukraine and join the voices around the world calling for peace.”
Russian tennis player speaks out against violence in Ukraine: Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is using her platform as a professional athlete to condemn the conflict in Ukraine. “I just don’t want violence. All we want right now, our hearts have broken. We just want peace and love and stop the violence,” Pavlyuchenkova told CNN.
“We don’t have to be at war… right now it’s more about our future and our life really. It’s more than the sport right now,” she added.
Pavlyuchenkova, who has shared her sentiments on Twitter, also offered support for her Ukrainian fellow tennis players. “I understand them and I feel for them and my heart is broken as much as them. I also understand their position,” she said. “I just want that the violence stop.”