The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) condemns the decision of the Russian Orienteering Federation (RUFSO) to establish regional orienteering organisations in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine.
The IOF Council has at its meeting on November 11 reviewed the decision made by the Executive Committee of RUFSO on October 6, 2022 and published on its homepage .
The minutes of the RUFSO Executive Committee meeting include decisions about establishing regional orienteering federations in the regions of Ukraine which were illegally annexed into the Russian Federation, as well as instructions for organising activities in the regions. The minutes also refer to supporting the proposal initiated by the Russian Federation Ministry of Sports and to coordinating activities with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education.
The IOF expresses the following condemnation of this decision:
- The IOF agrees with the conclusion of the international community, including of the United Nations, that the annexation of regions of Ukraine into the Russian Federation is without legal base or effect.
- The IOF considers these regions as being a part of Ukraine and the actions of RUFSO are therefore clearly in violation of article 3.2.4 in the statutes of IOF; Obligations of Members and Provisional Members, with particular reference to the sub-clause “Members and Provisional Members shall not interfere in the internal affairs of other members”.
- RUFSO has previously argued that the suspension of their membership in the IOF, and exclusion of Russian athletes from IOF competitions, should be removed as sports should not be affected by politics. This argument is clearly contradicted by the connection made in the decisions of the Executive Committee between RUFSO and political bodies, i.e. the Ministries of Sports, Defense and Education.
- The Council notes if these decisions remain and are implemented, RUFSO has taken further steps away from having its current suspension from the IOF removed and membership rights restored.