Athletes from Russia and Belarus will be suspended from competing at any International Canoe Federation events until further notice because of hostilities in Ukraine, it was announced today.

In addition to athletes, the executive committee of the ICF also voted unanimously to suspend all officials from Russia and Belarus from officiating at any event sanctioned by the governing body, and from attending or taking part in any ICF meetings, committees and forums, until further notice.

The suspension follows the decision taken last week to remove the three ICF events scheduled to be held in Russia this year – a SUP World Cup, and two canoe sprint Super Cups.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko said the ICF executive committee was unanimous in its support for the strong stand taken by the International Olympic Committee, and had no hesitation in taking its own strong decisions to condemn the behavior of the two countries.

We have been in constant contact with our canoeing family in Ukraine, and it is obvious this is a very stressful and worrying time for everyone,” Mr Konietzko said.

As a global sport, we have an important role to play and need to show leadership on issues like this. We know that innocent athletes and officials in Russia and Belarus who do not support the actions of their government are being punished, but the cost for our athletes, coaches and officials in Ukraine is much higher.

On behalf of the ICF, we urge the Russian and Belarus governments to not only uphold the meaning of the Olympic Truce, but also to read the room. Their actions have very few friends anywhere on the planet, and the long term damage to their own reputation will be hard to repair.”

The ICF executive committee has also voted to remove Russian and Belarusian flags from all international events, and to ban those countries national anthems and federation images from ICF website and social media accounts.

The committee also agreed to set up a donation account to raise money for Ukrainian athletes caught up in the hostilities, and has asked national federations to donate if possible to the cause.

The ICF will continue to monitor the ongoing situation with a view to amend the sanctions if necessary.

The full ICF executive committee decision is as follows; 

The ICF Executive Committee decided today on the following measures based on chapter 4; paragraph d of our ICF statutes.

The sanctions are a response to the disregard of Russia and Belarus of the objectives of the ICF as stated in Article 2, and of the violation of the IOC Code of Ethics and the clear breach of the Olympic Truce.

The ICF Executive Committee (Exco) strongly condemns the war of aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine by the Russian government, currently being supported by the Belarusian Government. The breach of the Olympic truce is a clear abuse of the UN rules recognised by all countries, and the war of aggression is a blatant violation of all principals of human rights and constitutes an ongoing war crime. The Russian government is disregarding all the values of humanity and sport.

The ICF Exco therefore expressly supports the decisions of the IOC EB of 28.02.2022.

We are aware that necessary measures have an effect upon innocent athletes and officials from both Russia and Belarus, which we deeply regret. However we must take into account the effect Russian actions are having on innocent Ukrainian athletes.

The ICF Exco has therefore agreed unanimously today on the following measures:

  1. The Russian Canoe Federation will be stripped of the right to host three ICF international competitions it had been awarded for 2022 – an ICF SUP World Cup and two ICF Super Cups.
  2. Russian and Belarusian athletes, officials and judges will be suspended from all ICF international competitions and executive committee, board, committees, commissions and forums of discussion until further notice.
  3. The national flags, national anthems and federation images of Russia and Belarus will be removed from all ICF international competitions, websites and graphic materials until further notice.
  4. The International Canoe Federation supports the Ukrainian canoe family, and calls upon national canoe federations and members of the broader paddling community to donate to an emergency fund, which will be administered by the ICF, and will provide assistance to the Ukrainian Canoe Federation and its athletes and officials during this difficult time.