Skiing | Finland and the Nordic countries hope that the international skiing federation will take a common line against Russia

Martti Uusitalo, a Finnish member of Fis’s board, says that there are still countries in the international sports federation that say sports do not belong in politics.

Finland and the other Nordic countries hope that the International Ski Federation (FIS) would favor their strongly negative position on the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions.

Representing the Finnish Ski Federation on the Fis board Martti Uusitalo tells Helsingin Sanomat that the Nordic countries’ position is clear and united: Russians and Belarusians should not be allowed to participate in the games in this situation.

According to Uusitalo, however, there are countries in Fis that think differently about the matter.

“I don’t want to go to individual countries, but there are those who don’t want to see political nuances in the matter. In their opinion, sports should remain separate from politics and that athletes cannot choose their passports,” says Uusitalo, who returned from the FIS congress in Zurich late on Thursday.

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Correspondingly, there are also countries in Fis that stand behind the Nordic countries’ position.

International The Olympic Committee (IOC) recommends that Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to participate in international competitions.

In March, the IOC board transferred the responsibility in the matter to the international sports federations, whose practice varies.

For example, judo admitted Russians and Belarusians to its recent World Championships, but eliminated athletes with a clear military background from their ranks when Ukraine brought the matter up.

Among the major sports federations, the International Athletics Federation has been absolutely negative about the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

In its meeting, Fis decided to continue the banning of Russian and Belarusian athletes for the time being.

The next time it deals with the issue is in the fall, before the new competition seasons start in skiing.

The last time Fis decided on the suspension of athletes was in October of last year.

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“At Fis, the matter has been brought up in almost all meetings in one way or another through the IOC report and recommendations. It’s hard to imagine that something would happen during the summer,” says Uusitalo.

Last fall, Fisi’s big technical meeting took a surprising turn when a Russian delegation came to Zurich.

This time there was no Russian representation at the meeting place. The Russian delegation still has the opportunity to listen to meetings remotely.

Russian skiing influencer and activist To Jelena Välbek no longer has an influence on Fis’s board.

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