FINA, the international governing body of aquatic sports, have taken more steps forward in sanctioning Russian aquatic athletes, but continue to stand short of a full ban from international competitions.
On Tuesday, FINA announced that they have “withdrawn” the FINA Order awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man who primarily for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the last week. The Order was given to Putin in 2014
At the time, FINA President Julio Maglione said this of Putin:
Russia is undoubtedly one of the most important and major powers in world sport. These achievements are only possible thanks to the active support from the Russian authorities to Aquatics. The personal involvement of President Putin in this area greatly contributes to strengthen the fraternity between nations, improve the lifestyle and education of the youth in Russia and promote a healthier society, in a spirit of peace and friendship.”
FINA recognized Putin’s “important support in the organisation of major FINA events in Russian soil, thus bringing additional development to the FINA disciplines and providing increased value to Aquatics within the Russian society and worldwide.”
Those statements inextricably link Putin directly to the aquatic industry and justify the removal of competition from the country based on his orders to invade Ukraine that has caused at least 102 civilian deaths in the country, according to the United Nations.
FINA has also barred Russian and Belarusian flags, anthems, and symbols from international competition, saying that athletes and teams from those countries should be “accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams.”
Until further notice, no athlete or Aquatics official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags should be displayed or anthems should be played, in international Aquatics events which are not already part of the respective World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions for Russia.
Last week, FINA canceled some, but not all, international aquatics events scheduled to be hosted in Russia this year. Competitions in diving and artistic swimming (synchronized swimming), as well as the World Junior Swimming Championships, have been pulled from Russia, so far without replacement hosts. FINA remains one of the very few international sporting federations that have left an international competition in the country this year: no announcement has been made yet about the World Short Course Swimming Championships. FIVB, the international volleyball federation, was one of the last holdouts alongside FINA, and finally withdrew the men’s volleyball World Championship tournament from Russia earlier this week under immense international pressure.
FINA has also not sanctioned All-Russia Swimming Federation head Vladimir Salnikov, who remains an active member of the FINA Bureau.
Other International Governing Body Sanctions:
- FIFA expels Russia from the World Cup, bans teams from international football
- World Rugby suspends Russia and Belarus
- IOC Calls for stripping Russia of host status for international events, recommends barring Russian and Belarusian athletes
- International Skating Union bars Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition, with the world speedskating championships set to begin Thursday
- Badminton World Federation will allow athletes under a neutral banner
- International Ski Federation won’t invite or allow participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials