— Published 12 May 2022

A Russian representative at the Congress

There can be no doubt that the situation of a leader has become much more comfortable than that of an athlete for Russian citizens since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. This was proven again this week at the UEFA congress in Vienna, Austria. A Russian representative was allowed to attend the European football body’s annual meeting on Wednesday 11 May, despite the suspension of Russian clubs and national teams from all international competitions until further notice. According to a UEFA spokesman, “the general secretary of the Russian Football Union (Aleksandr Alaev) attended the Congress today in Vienna”. The previous day, Russian Football Association president Alexander Dyukov took part in the UEFA executive committee meeting. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin of Slovenia explained later in a press conference about the decision to suspend Russian clubs and teams: “Our sanctions were hard for the athletes, I am sorry for them, but in a situation like this there were no other solutions. Let’s see in the future. What I hope, and we all hope, is that the madness stops as soon as possible.” UEFA is not the only organisation in the sports movement to ban athletes but allow Russian officials. The IOC has set an example by “recommending” that international federations suspend Russian athletes, but the Olympic body has not excluded its four members, including two active ones (Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpischev), carrying Russian passports.