WFDF Bans Russian, Belarusian Athletes from Events

The athletes are barred from events until further notice.

Following guidance from the International Olympic Committee, the World Flying Disc Federation has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in sanctioned events until further notice as sanctions on Russia for their attacks on Ukraine continue to broaden.

Most international sports organizations have barred Russian and Belarusian athletes. The Paralympic Games, taking place now in Beijing, initially said that they were going to allow Russians and Belarusians to participate as neutral athletes (as we’ve seen Russian athletes competing in the Olympics in the last two cycles) but reversed course following backlash from athletes and expelled Russian and Belarusian competitors.

“WFDF strongly condemns this unprovoked act of war and calls upon the leadership of Russia to order its military to immediately stand down and withdraw from Ukraine,” WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch said in a statement. “The Flying Disc global community and the entire world of sport finds these actions incompatible with human progress and the values of sport. Furthermore, it is a blatant breach by the Russian government of the Olympic Truce resolution which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 December 2021.

“Our thoughts are with the people of the Ukraine and particularly of the athletes under our member Federation, the UFDF. We stand united in solidarity with them and hope and pray for their safety and security. We also are concerned for our Russian Flying Disc athletes and so many of the general population of Russia who will be negatively impacted by the consequences resulting from the actions of their leadership. WFDF strongly keeps up our hopes that the conflict can be solved through peaceful means and not by war.”

Along with barring Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from events, the countries’ flying disc federations have been suspended. The countries are also blocked from hosting any WFDF tournaments, though none are currently scheduled to take place in them.

In email correspondence to teams scheduled to compete at the World Ultimate Club Championships and World Masters Ultimate Club Championships, WFDF suggested that citizens of Russia and Belarus that live and compete in other countries may still have the opportunity to play at this summer’s events.

A group of Russian ultimate players posted an anti-war message online: “It hurts to watch this world fall apart. On February 24th, Russia invaded the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. Now our country and its athletes are outcasts, and blood is shed on the territory of Ukraine. Our friends, Ukrainian athletes, with whom we met in a fair sports competition, are now in mortal danger – as are their families. They are threatened by Russian bombs, Russian bullets.

“Aggression, lies, contempt for others, the desire to win at any cost are contrary to the values ​​of ultimate. We see all this in the actions of our country, Russia, and it breaks our hearts. We, the signed Russian ultimate athletes, demand that Russia stop this insane conflict, which brings only suffering and destruction to Ukrainians, alienates our country from the world, and causes incurable trauma to society.”

Russian teams were already going to miss US-based events, including WUCC, in 2021, due to visa complications. Two Russian teams received bids to the WMUCC in Ireland; after the teams missed a payment deadline, they were cut from the event by WFDF this week.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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