FISU says sanctions not in the cards against Ukraine for skipping 2019 Universiade

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MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Applying sanctions against the Ukrainian national team for skipping the 2019 Universiade in Russia is not on the agenda since the Ukrainian side never submitted an official letter of boycott, Oleg Matytsin, the president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), told TASS on Tuesday.

February 2 was the deadline for submitting applications to participate in the Winter Universiade, which kicks off early next month. Ukrainian Deputy Sports Minister Igor Gotsul told TASS on February 4 that Ukrainian athletes would skip the international tournament in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk.

“The Sports Students Union of Ukraine [SSUU] is one of the most active members of FISU and we have initially received a letter from them complaining of financial difficulties,” Matytsin said in an interview with TASS. “We [FISU] then forwarded official letters to the national federation, the National Olympic Committee [NOC], the Ministry of Education and the government stating our readiness to provide the necessary financial assistance.”

“In response to our letter we have received a message from the national federation [SSUU] that they would consider our proposal,” he said. “However, as of February 2 the Ukrainian delegation failed to confirm its participation.”

“We will be not sanctioning a country, which did not officially boycott the Universiade,” the FISU president said. “There were no letters addressed either to FISU or the Organizing Committee stating that the [Ukrainian] delegation is boycotting the tournament and is not coming due to political reasons. This is why the issue of sanctions is currently open for debates.”

Matytsin said that the topic of further cooperation with the Sports Students Union of Ukraine would be discussed later.

“After the [2019] Universiade, the [FISU] Executive Committee will discuss at its session opportunities of cooperation with organizations, which failed to take part in the tournament,” he said.

“It is highly important for us to receive official replies to our proposals [on financial assistance] from the government of Ukraine and from the National Olympic Committee since we have been already planning to stage some events on the territory of Ukraine in 2020-2022,” Matytsin said.

“The political and economic situations are equally important for us as well as the government’s guarantees on the observation of all FISU requirements regarding athletes’ participation in the tournaments, and we will be discussing these issues on a single agenda,” he said.

The Ukrainian national team is missing out the upcoming 2019 Universiade and regrets have been already expressed by Russian lawmakers, sports experts as well as Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Medvedev, who blamed Kiev authorities for the current situation.

“We can only express our regrets in this connection. We regret that politicians are making such decisions, while students and athletes are suffering as a result of these decisions,” Peskov told journalists on Monday.

At the 2017 Winter Universiade in Kazakhstan’s Almaty the Ukrainian national team finished 10th in the overall medals standings having won two gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

The Russian Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, which has a population of over one million, was elected to host the 2019 Winter Universiade at the session of the FISU Executive Committee in Brussels in 2013. The event is scheduled for March 2-12, 2019.

The Winter Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city. The name of the international sports event is a combination of two words, which are ‘University’ and ‘Olympiad.’

It is only second to the Olympic Games. The program of the Winter Universiade currently includes 6 compulsory sports (8 compulsory disciplines) and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.

The 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk offers 76 sets of medals in 11 sports competitions.

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