Canada Basketball won’t compete vs. Russia, ‘stands in solidarity’ with Ukraine

(Chris Young/CP)

Canada Basketball pledged that it will not compete in any competitions with Russia “until the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian people have been reinstated,” in a statement released Monday.

The national governing body for basketball added that it “stands in solidarity with Ukrainians” both in Canada and in Ukraine, and said it will be providing support to Canadian players currently playing in Russia.

The statement comes as sports organizations around the world take steps to restrict Russia from participating in athletic competitions as a result of the country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine last week. That includes the IOC, FIFA and IIHF which all announced Monday that Russia would be restricted from competition effective immediately.

FIBA — the international governing body for basketball — has yet to release a statement on the situation.

“Russia’s unjustified attack is not just an assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty but democracy globally,” the statement from Canada Basketball reads. “Sport is a privilege, not a right, and the recent reckless, aggressive actions of Russia cannot be overlooked and that also extends to the basketball court.”

On the fifth day of Russia’s invasion, here’s how the sports world responded
Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 23, sports federations, as well as athletes, have weighed in on the conflict. Here’s what you need to know about what was said and enacted on Monday, the fifth day of the war.

• FIFA and EUFA announced that they have suspended all Russian teams from international competition in response to the invasion, changing course after their initial sanctions against the country and its allies were widely chastised as being insufficient.

• The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Russia and Belarus from every age category in international play until further notice.

• Canada Soccer said it would not compete at any level against Russia “until sovereignty and territorial integrity are restored.” Canada Basketball followed suit, saying it “stands in solidarity with Ukrainians.”

• The International Olympic Committee “strongly urged” sports federations and event organizers to not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions, in a decisive recommendation that comes as the 2022 Paralympic Games are set to begin.

• Wayne Gretzky lamented the human toll of the ongoing crisis while zeroing in on what Edmonton, the host of the upcoming world juniors tournament, can do to make a difference.

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