— Published 11 April 2023

Interior Minister closes the door to Russian athletes

The road to the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions will not pass through Germany. The German Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser (pictured above), does not want to see them put one foot in the country. She explained this firmly in an interview with a national media, going so far as to threaten not to issue them visas. “Countries that host major sports events are not powerless,” she said. They can control whether Russians can participate in them by issuing visas. If we organise international competitions in Germany, we can act accordingly. Here we will always act with a clear position. Opening international competitions to Russian athletes would be a slap in the face for Ukrainian athletes. And to offer the warmonger Putin a propaganda stage would mean betraying all the values of sport.” Germany’s unambiguous position could become a headache for international federations that have decided to reinstate Russian athletes. To date, there are four of them: the FIE (fencing), ITTF (table tennis), UWW (wrestling) and World Taekwondo. In the case of fencing, the question has already been settled, as Germany has announced its decision not to host a World Cup event. However, Germany is expected to host a stage of the world table tennis circuit in Frankfurt in October and November. It will also host an international wrestling tournament in Dortmund in mid-August.