Mar 9, 2022
World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing, has announced that it will suspend the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in World Sailing owned and sanctioned competitions and events until further notice, in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The news follows a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Russian and Belarusian athletes be prevented from competing in international events.
In a declaration made last Monday, the IOC said it was acting with “a heavy heart” as it called for a ban on both Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials.
Today’s news marks a stronger position for World Sailing. On the following Tuesday, it released a brief statement confirming that there were no World Sailing organized regattas planned in Russia or Belarus in 2022, adding that the Executive Board “are supporting the relocation of training and education events in Russia” and highlighting the body’s concern for its friends in the Ukrainian sailing community.
Then, on Wednesday morning, the body updated its stance with a more strongly-worded follow-up statement.
“Today World Sailing joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and global sports organizations in taking the decision to suspend participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in World Sailing owned and sanctioned competitions and events until further notice,” the statement says.
“By implementing these measures, World Sailing is supporting a united and coordinated approach within the global sports movement.
“This decision is in line with the IOC Executive Board’s recommendation, aimed at preserving the integrity of competitions and ensuring the safety of all participants, and has been unanimously agreed by the World Sailing Executive Board.
“We are now strongly urging our Member National Authorities, Class Associations, affiliated bodies, and all event organizers to implement the measure to suspend the participation of Russian or Belarusian athletes and officials in their respective events and competitions.
“Where this is not possible, due to short time frames, for organizational, or legal reasons, World Sailing, in line with the IOC Executive Board recommendation, is advising event organizers do everything in their power to ensure that Russian or Belarusian athletes (be it as individuals or teams), and officials participate neutrally, without national symbols, colours, flags or anthems.
“Both on and off the water, our sport is united by the values of equality, inclusion, respect and fairness.
“We are now asking our sailing family to come together as a sporting force for good by working with us at this incredibly difficult time.”
With files from Marine Industry News