Russia stripped of the organization of the Grand Prix of figure skating

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia has been stripped of hosting an event on the figure skating Grand Prix circuit next season due to the country’s war with Ukraine.

The International Skating Union said on Monday it was looking for a replacement host for the Nov. 25-27 event after its ruling council removed the Rostelecom Cup from the schedule due to the Russian military invasion.

Last season the Rostelecom Cup was held in Sochi and the women’s event was won by 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, whose subsequent doping case dominated the sport at the Beijing Olympics.

“The Council reaffirms its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict and reiterates its condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms,” ​​the ISU said in a statement.

Russian athletes, teams, officials and event organizers have been isolated from world sports since the invasion began on February 24, with governing bodies encouraged to act by the International Olympic Committee. Russia’s military ally, Belarus, has also been largely excluded.

However, Russia may still field candidates for the ISU presidential elections in June at a congress in Phuket, Thailand. Current president Jan Dijkema of the Netherlands is stepping down after six years.

The ISU said more than 20 of its member federations urged the board to decide at its online meeting on Sunday to exclude Russian and Belarus officials from candidates for any office and to attend all meetings. The first vice-president of the ISU is the Russian Alexander Lakernik.

However, the governing committee “concluded that no decision by the council should be taken at this time”.

The ISU cited “fundamental rights of ISU members” and said it was “concerned to ensure the validity” of the upcoming congress.

Instead, national federations could decide in Thailand to exclude Russia and Belarus, the ISU said, noting that the issue depended “on the situation in Ukraine” and future ballot demands.

The ISU previously allocated 200,000 Swiss francs ($209,000) to help Ukrainian skaters and officials. The money will go to member federations that “have hosted Ukrainian skaters displaced by the conflict as a contribution to help them continue their skating activities”, the ISU said on Monday.

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