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Morrison backs sporting boycott of Russia

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thrown his support behind sporting organisations boycotting events in Russia, following the country’s deadly invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Morrison on Twitter welcomed a decision by Australian aerial skier Danielle Scott to leave Russia and not compete in the world cup final that was due to be held in the country.

Tweet from @ScottMorrisonMP

Scott, who recently competed at the Beijing Winter Olympics, said she could not believe the situation was happening.

“In the uniquely unifying power of sport, I wished so badly for this situation to be different,” she said on social media.

Fellow Australian aerial skier Laura Peel will also leave Russia on Friday. She and Scott, at the behest of Australian officials, have withdrawn from a World Cup event in Yaroslav this weekend.

Mr Morrison issued public support for Scott, and urged other athletes and sporting bodies to follow suit. He put direct pressure on Australia’s Formula One ace Daniel Ricciardo to boycott the Russian grand prix.

“All international sporting events in Russia should have their authorisations withdrawn from all international sporting bodies,” Mr Morrison said.

“This includes the F1 grand prix in Sochi.”

The Russian grand prix is due to be held in late September.

Australia imposes further sanctions, blasts China

Speaking in Adelaide later on Friday, Mr Morrison said he commended any Australians who ruled out competing in tournaments in Russia this year.

“[And] international sporting bodies, and a number of them are already joining, and I welcome it very much,” he said.

“This is the way you impose a cost on Russia that is invading its neighbour.”

F1 driver Ricciardo is yet to make a public comment on the government’s boycott call.

But his German rival Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion and former Ricciardo teammate, has already said he won’t race in Russia. Vettel said it would be “wrong” to race in Russia.

Elsewhere, Diving Australia won’t send athletes to a FINA World Series meet in Kazan from April 8-10.

“Diving Australia has been monitoring the situation for some time and, given the priority of athlete safety, will not be sending a team,” a DA spokesman said.

Australia’s elite junior swimmers could withdraw from the world junior championships, also in Kazan, from August 23-28.

“The safety of our athletes remains our highest priority,” Swimming Australia’s chief executive Eugenie Buckley said in a statement to AAP.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with FINA.”

Football organisation UEFA appears set set to strip St Petersburg of the hosting rights of the Champions League final, which was set to be held in May.

Earlier, the chairman of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) said a 2022 World Cup playoff match in Russia was “almost unthinkable”.

Sweden is due to face the Czech Republic in a World Cup playoff Group B match on March 24, with the victor meeting the winner of the other group game between Poland and Russia.

Wins for Sweden and Russia would mean the two sides meeting in Russia on March 29, with a place at the Qatar World Cup at stake.

-with AAP

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