Is Russia disqualified? Then the « Russian Handball Federation team » will simply perform. The first world championship after the ban on the country’s participation due to doping clearly shows how not severe enough was the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to punish Russia.
We arrived a little later, but still, in general, on time. On Tuesday evening, the team, led by coach Velimir Petkovic, arrived at the Moscow airport, then went through Istanbul to Egypt. Early Wednesday morning, the team finally arrived at the tournament venue – Alexandria – the day before the start of the World Handball Championship. Belarus on Thursday will be the first rival of Petkovic’s team, the Russian national team. Oh, that is, of course, the « teams of the Russian Handball Federation. »
The World Handball Championship in Egypt is a very unusual event for a number of reasons, but especially because of the participants from Russia. The tournament became the first world championship since the CAS decision was made on the consequences of the continued data fraud in the Russian doping scandal. Formally, the court decided to ban speaking for two years, but at the same time it was significantly softened. And now, at the first opportunity, as expected, in practice you can see what kind of fiction the Sports Arbitration Court has come up with convenient for violators. Ban? What are you talking about, what prohibition?
“Russia” as a country does not participate in the World Championship, but the “team of the Russian Handball Federation” is involved – what a spectacular trick! This is about the same series as the « Olympic athletes from Russia », this name was coined by the IOC in 2018 for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Obviously, this maneuver did not come cheap to officials from the International Handball Federation – she is shamed, and the media and viewers, of course, write and talk about “Russia” when it comes to the team of Velimir Petkovic, who previously worked in Germany for a long time (recently Time in Berlin) ContextNYT: US athletes believe stories of « Russian doping » and demand harsher punishment The New York Times12/22/2020HS: Finnish doctor wants to save the reputation of Russian athletesHelsingin Sanomat
Logo, flag and anthem – CAS, by its decision, explicitly prohibited their use. But in practice, now everything looks like this: the logo is not the Russian flag, but the logo of the Russian Handball Federation, which randomly also contains the colors of the Russian tricolor – white, blue and red. The coat of arms on the athletes’ uniforms must be pasted over, since in a short time it was not possible to make a completely new uniform without national symbols. And what would happen to the anthem, the Russians themselves did not know about this when they went to Egypt. The anthem of the International Handball Federation will probably be played.
All this became a model for action in the following months. There is little concern that it will be difficult to recognize Russian athletes at the IIHF World Championship in May, the same applies to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the Winter Olympics in Beijing – as well as the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. All international federations traditionally have pro-Russian sports functionaries who will surely support Moscow. In the European Football Championship in 2021, Russia will even be able to participate as « Russia », since the ban applies only to world championships.
Russian handball players noted that the circumstances, of course, are not rosy, but they hope that this will not affect the results at the World Cup. But they made it clear that, in general, a more significant problem for them, that they will have to compensate for the absence of several players, especially point guard Pavel Atman. Thus, we again return to sports.
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