The Tennis Australia association has allowed players from Russia and Belarus to take part in the Australian Open, which will be held in Melbourne from January 16 to 29.
The only restriction is that the players from the aggressor country and its satellite will not be able to compete under their national flags and use the names and symbols of their countries on their clothes and in television broadcasts.
In this regard, the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) earlier made a statement, which we provide below:
Having principles in sport – comparing two Australian Peak bodies, Australian Cricket Board and Tennis Australia
Tennis Australia (TA) should take the example from the Australian Cricket Board and make a principled stand that shows Australians do not hide behind sport on matters of principles and values.
The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) has refused to play Afghanistan in Australia due to the political situation in Afghanistan – opposing the oppression of women.
THE ACB has taken a principled position not hiding behind sport. TA has taken the weak position hiding behind the good of the game, income and a misconception that not playing under the Russian flag make things right.
Whilst Russian missiles fly, Ukrainian athletes fight on front lines, some die in the war. Russian missile demolish sporting stadiums. TA sees it right and fitting not to follow international sporting authorities by ostracising Russia in all shapes and forms.
“The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) commends the ACB for its action and again calls on Tennis Australia to make captain’s call and ban Russian players at the AO. It has the experience of making last minute changes to schedules- it did it for Djokovic last year. So, it is not too late,” Stefan Romaniw, Co-Chair of the AFUO said.
It would take a big step, but the Australian Open has the opportunity to show that it is an organisation with values and principles and understands that Russian aggression in Ukraine, is not only killing tennis players, but is also smashing tennis courts and affecting the lives of millions.
“The AFUO acknowledges the support of the tennis public in its support of the last Thursday’s Tennis for Peace showing support for humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
15,000 Australians stood with Ukraine, in solidarity standing for Ukraine’s National Anthem at Rod Laver Arena. It was another strong indication of the support of the broader Australian public for Ukraine and denouncement of Putin and Russian aggression in Ukraine,” said Mr. Romaniw.
“Humanitarian support should not be confused with principal support by banning Russian tennis players,” said Mr. Romaniw.
Decisions and outcomes are made on the court. Russia will use the idea of Russian players being allowed to participate that it is accepted on the international stage.
Further information Stefan Romaniw 0419531255