- Move comes after IOC called for all sporting events in Russia and Belarus to be scrapped
- Troubled summit in Ekaterinburg postponed three times due to Covid-19 pandemic
May’s SportAccord Summit in Ekaterinburg has been cancelled following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the event organisers have confirmed.
While the short statement signed by new SportAccord president Ivo Ferriani does not mention the invasion, it was issued on 25th February, little more than 24 hours after Russian military began its offensive in Ukraine.
The statement simply read: ‘The SportAccord Executive Committee met today and unanimously decided to cancel the SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit, 15th to 20th May 2022 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.’
The decision marked an about-turn from SportAccord after the event’s managing director Nis Hatt said on 22nd February that the event would go ahead as planned.
Hatt told Inside the Games: “SportAccord is looking forward, together with our host, the Russian Federation, to once again welcome the international sport community to Russia – focusing on unity and building bridges for the future of sport and society.”
The troubled summit, which has been delayed three times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, was set to be Ferriani’s first since being unanimously elected as president of SportAccord in December 2021 and feature a host nation address from Russia’s sports minister, Oleg Matytsin.
The SportAccord decision was taken after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) demanded Russia and neighbouring ally Belarus be stripped of all sporting events.
Matytsin described the IOC statement as a “great disappointment” and a “violation of the rights of Russian athletes”.
“We consider it important for the IOC to remain a guarantor of the unity of the international sports movement and prevent the politicisation of sports,” Matytsin told TASS.
“The [Russian] Ministry of Sport is constantly in touch with sports federations
“We will protect the rights of our athletes, which are an absolute priority for us.”