Russian and Belarusian teams excluded from all the WBSC Europe 2023 competitions

The World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe confirms the decision taken in February to exclude all Russian and Belarusian teams, players, coaches, and officials from its competitions in 2023.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23:  The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The WBSC Europe Executive Board decided on the exclusion for the 2023 competitions of all Russian and Belarusian teams, players, coaches, and officials.

The decision follows the continued illegal invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russia that began on 24 February 2022.

Back on February 28, four days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee announced its recommendation “that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions”. Federations that are unable to do so, the IOC added, should only allow athletes from Russia or Belarus to compete under neutral status, not for their country.

2022 Beijing Olympics - Skeleton - National Sliding Centre, Yanqing District, Beijing, China - February 11, 2022. Vladyslav Heraskevych of Ukraine holds a sign with a message reading 'No war in Ukraine'. IOC/OBS/Handout via Reuters
2022 Beijing Olympics - Skeleton - National Sliding Centre, Yanqing District, Beijing, China - February 11, 2022. Vladyslav Heraskevych of Ukraine holds a sign with a message reading 'No war in Ukraine'. IOC/OBS/Handout via Reuters

Most sports federations have complied with the IOC’s recommendations. When it comes to football, the national teams of both countries were banned from qualifying for the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. UEFA has excluded not only the national teams but also all Russian and Belarusian clubs from European competitions. The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne rejected Russian appeals against the exclusion. Other sports like Ice Hockey, Swimming and Athletics have done so as well.

On the other hand, in cycling, tennis, driving and judo, Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete but under neutral flags.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics -   Tennis - Men's Singles - Quarterfinal - Ariake Tennis Park  - Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021 Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee walks off after losing his quarterfinal match against Pablo Carreno of Spain REUTERS/Mike Segar
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Tennis - Men's Singles - Quarterfinal - Ariake Tennis Park - Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021 Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee walks off after losing his quarterfinal match against Pablo Carreno of Spain REUTERS/Mike Segar

Sports federations are leaving open how long they will maintain the isolation of Russia and Belarus, depending largely upon how long Russia’s war on Ukraine continues. But it’s already clear that many of the bans will have an impact in 2023.

As for the WBSC, and same as in 2022, no competitions will be played on Russian and Belarusian fields.