How The Sports World Is Reacting To The Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has impacted the world and sports will likely be no exception. Several sports leagues have taken measures to change their schedules and condemn the actions of Russia. Athletes with ties to both Russia and Ukraine have also spoken out on the events.

Sports Leagues And Teams React: Formula One, which is owned by Liberty Formula One Group FWONAFWONK, has canceled the Russian Grand Prix. The race was set to be held in Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 25, 2022.

“The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together,” Formula One said Friday.

The UEFA Executive Committee announced that the UEFA Men’s Champions League Final will be moved from Saint Petersburg, Russia to Paris, France. The event is set to be held on May 28, 2022.

The UEFA also said that Russian and Ukrainian club and national teams will play their upcoming UEFA competitions at neutral venues until further notice.

The International Olympic Committee is urging multiple sports bodies to cancel or move all events set to be held in Russia and Belarus. The IOC also wants the national anthems and countries’ flags to stop being used.

Volleyball, shooting and hockey all have upcoming world championships scheduled in Russia in 2022. Hockey, a favorite of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is set to host the world championships in May 2023.

Soccer club FC Schalke of the Bundesliga 2 league in Germany announced it will remove the logo of sponsor Gazprom OGZPY from its uniforms and replace it with “Schalke 04” instead. Gazprom is one of the largest natural gas companies in the world and is majority-owned by Russia.

Related Link: Formula 1 Had A Huge 2021 With Viewership, Race Growth, Here's What's In Store For 2022

Athletes React: Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel spoke out against Russia prior to the league canceling the Russian Grand Prix.

“My own opinion is I should not go, I will not go,” Vettel said. “I think it’s wrong to race in that country.”

Reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen agreed with Vettel and said it was not right to race in a country that is at war.

Thursday night’s NBA matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets featured a moment of silence for the global crisis. Kings center Alex Len, who is from Ukraine, linked arms with teammates as a sign of solidarity ahead of the game.

Len and Toronto Raptors player Svi Mykhailiuk, who is also from Ukraine, released a statement on Thursday condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine,” the two NBA players said. “We categorically condemn the war. Ukraine is a peaceful, sovereign state inhabited by people who want to decide their own destiny.”

Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev wrote “No War Please” on a television camera after winning a semifinal match at the Dubai Championships on Friday.

“You realized how important [it] is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what, to be united,” Rublev said Thursday on Twitter.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is the mayor of Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine. Klitschko said Thursday he plans on defending the country.

“It’s already a bloody war, I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight,” Klitschko said.

Klitschko’s brother Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in the reserve army for Ukraine earlier in February in preparation for a potential attack.

“We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy,” Wladimir Klitschko said.

Photo: Formula One driver Max Verstappen by randomwinner from Pixabay 

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