World sport ‘loses relevance’ without Russia – minister – RT Sport News
Oleg Matytsin responded after international ski and snowboard authorities extended ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes
International sport is deteriorating without strong competition from Russian athletes, according to Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin. The official was commenting after the ski and snowboard federation, FIS, announced the extension of the ban on Russian and Belarusian competitors for the 2022/23 season.
« The FIS decision to extend the non-admission of Russian athletes to competitions in the 2022/23 season deprives sports fans of an entertaining fight for medals and deprives athletes of serious competition, » read a message on Telegram from Matytsin on Sunday.
“Russian skiers are among the strongest in the world, without them no international competition loses its relevance, becomes less interesting and exciting, and the results on the scoreboard are significantly lower than the previous ones.
“We continue to support our athletes, create new tournament formats to preserve the competitive experience and, together with the federations, work hard to protect the rights of our athletes.
« I am sure that the practice of expelling Russians will soon cease, that the world sports community will remember the great principles of Olympism and that sports grounds will again become the site of a great international sports festival, » he said. -he adds. added the minister.
The FIS confirmed on Saturday that it was extending the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from all of its competitions, following a meeting of its council in Soelden, Austria.
« The FIS Council has decided, with due regard to the integrity of FIS competitions and the safety of all participants, and in accordance with the recommendations of the IOC, to continue its policy of not allowing teams and Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in all FIS competitions. », says the organization.
The FIS first acted to ban Russians and Belarusians in March, also canceling all events planned for the two countries.
The governing body for skiing and snowboarding is just one of many sports federations to follow a recommendation first issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Reacting to news of the FIS ban extension, Russian cross-country skier Veronika Stepanova swore « we will return. » The 21-year-old also shared messages of support from international fans who disagreed with the FIS decision.
The head of the Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation, Elena Vyalbe, suggested that a speech given last week by IOC President Thomas Bach, in which he said he was « no time » to lift bans on Russian athletes – had played a role in the decision.
“A month ago I was at a meeting of the FIS Technical Committees, talking to representatives from other countries – not everyone was in favor of extending our suspension,” Vyalbe told the Russian outlet Championat.
« But after Thomas Bach’s fiery speech in Seoul, it became clear that there was no hope, no one would go against a superior organization. I don’t want to say anything more on this subject.
Russian sports officials have frequently denounced the bans imposed on their country’s athletes as discriminatory and contrary to the principle that sport is outside of politics.