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Czechs ban all Russian athletes from local competitions

The Czech government said late on Wednesday it had banned all athletes representing Russia from taking part in local competitions as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued.

The government said it banned “the participation of individual athletes and sports teams representing the Russian Federation in sports competitions and games organised on Czech soil”.

At the same time, athletes and teams representing the Czech Republic must not take part in competitions held in Russia, it added in a statement.

The decision was taken at the request of Czech sports associations.

Previously, Czech ice hockey players playing in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League could not play for the Czech national team, for instance.

But the current ban applies to all sports and all athletes competing under the Russian and Czech flags, respectively.

There was no information as to whether the move also concerns Belarusian athletes.

The Czech Olympic Committee said earlier this year it was against Russian and Belarusian athletes competing at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris under a neutral flag.

An EU and NATO member of 10.8 million people, the Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with substantial military and humanitarian aid since the Russian invasion started in February 2022.

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