Sports’ role in the condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is back in the spotlight this week with two sports taking different perspectives on it.

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships have confirmed a ban on Russian and Belarus athletes taking part but the global governing body has reacted by stripping the tournament of offering ranking points and a number of players, including Naomi Osaka, are now considering whether to play in the Grand Slam or not.

Novak Djokovic is still likely to play but supports the ATP stance on removing points claiming that this was a decision that the players backed and that there were other options open to Wimbledon within the Government guidance.

Sport has been strong in condemning the Russian invasion and recognising that if economic sanctions are to be a major part in support for Ukraine, that sport cannot sit outside of that. Players suffer but that has to be seen in the context of the suffering being endured by Ukrainians.

Basketball has taken to more accepted route with FIBA Europe announcing that teams from Russia and Belarus would not be eligible to compete in international competition for the rest of this season at least.

Ireland’s senior women were scheduled to face Belarus away from home on November 24th and host them on February 12th next year at the National Basketball Arena in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers.

The decision means that Group I is now reduced to three teams and Ireland’s remaining fixtures will see them face the Netherlands at the National Basketball Arena on November 27th and conclude with an away fixture against Czech Republic on February 9th.

Ireland’s U20 women were also due to face Russia in Group D of the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championships in Hungary in July.

Ireland’s U18 men’s team had been drawn with Belarus in Group A at FIBA U18 European Championships in Romania weeks later, in a group which also contains Ukraine.

“We wrote to FIBA earlier this month to say that we would not fulfil the upcoming FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers against Belarus in November and February, due to their support of Russia and the ongoing war in Ukraine,” said Basketball Ireland CEO John Feehan.

“Our stance was supported by the Irish government, Sport Ireland and the Basketball Ireland Board. This decision by FIBA Europe at their Annual Assembly is the right one and our senior women’s international team can focus on their remaining qualifiers with clarity, while our underage teams also have certainty around their respective fixtures.”



Sport for Business Partners