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4 Negative Consequences Of The Russia-Ukraine War In The Sports Industry

On the 24th of February 2022, Russia invaded the Republic of Ukraine, and since the invasion, the world has undergone numerous changes. Several sectors of the economy have been affected, and sports is no exception.

The dynamics of sports in Europe and the world have changed drastically. FIFA, IOC, FA, and other top sports’ governing bodies have responded to the war by placing sanctions on Russian-owned teams and owners. These teams have also been banned from performing in international sporting tournaments, bringing about many changes to the 2022 sporting schedule. Notably, the UEFA Champions League final set for St. Petersburg, Russia, has been moved to Paris in France.

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Consequences Of The Russia-Ukraine War In The Sports Industry

The following are ways the Russian-Ukraine war has negatively affected the sports industry.

1. A Massive Blow to Sports Investors

To begin with, according to various reports, 4 billionaire Ukrainian club owners have lost approximately $12.5 billion since the start of the war, and it doesn’t end there. This is due to the temporary suspension of all sports leagues in the country.

Revenue generated from sporting events has been greatly affected, with funds from TV rights and sponsorship deals no longer coming.

Many investors, too, have been feeling the heat of the war, mainly Russians. These men have seen their valuable international assets sanctioned and seized, putting fear in the minds of future investors.

A prominent example is the case of Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire, and owner of Chelsea. Weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine; the United Kingdom sanctioned Chelsea as part of its retaliatory actions against Russian oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin. Due to the sanctions, the billionaire is being forced to sell the club and prohibited from receiving any profit from the sale.

The Russian-Ukraine war has taught sports investors to understand how fast the world can turn on them and their assets.

2. Disruption of Sporting Events and Incurred Losses 

The day Russia invaded Ukraine, President Zelensky declared martial law in the country. This declaration meant that all sporting leagues in Ukraine were immediately suspended.

Thanks to advertisements, sponsorship deals, and the availability of many international soccer stars from around the world, the Ukrainian sporting industry is worth billions of dollars. But since the war began, the industry has been shut down.

Funds meant for sports have been allocated to security, leading to a massive loss of jobs in the country and Europe. Ukrainian teams can no longer participate in international sporting competitions due to the war in Ukraine today.

3. Changing Venues Due to Russia’s Invasion 

Before the invasion, the sporting industry had a lot in store for Russia and Ukraine in 2022. Many significant competitions were scheduled to be held in various locations in the country. But since the invasion, the nation has received severe backlash and has seen dozens of competitions moved from it.

The most notable cancellation and rescheduling are the Russian men’s national team being excluded from the European World Cup playoffs and the UEFA Champions League final that was supposed to hold in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the 28th of May being moved to France. UEFA moved the game to Stade de France in Paris just a day after Russia started a war with Ukraine. The cost of preparation for that event ran into millions of dollars, which has gone to waste now.

The Ukrainian national soccer team also couldn’t participate in the European World Cup playoffs. Their game against Scotland has now been rescheduled to June 2022.

F1 also suffered significant losses due to the ongoing war. Following the step of UEFA, FIFA, and other sporting bodies, the F1 canceled the Russian Grand Prix a day after the invasion, which came at a massive loss. Qatar was chosen to replace the Russian Grand Prix. Daily Mail reported that the move cost F1 a whopping £40m!

4. Sponsorships Cancellations 

The sports industry is a mega-industry and is currently one of the world’s most enormous. If you wonder where most of the sports teams’ revenue comes from, it’s from sponsorship deals. These deals are beneficial to both the company and the clubs. Most soccer, basketball, and hockey clubs partner with dozens of brands.

However, since Russia started a war in Ukraine, many clubs have begun to pull out of deals involving Russian companies. Manchester United canceled their £40 million sponsorship deal with Aeroloft, a Russian Airline. German side Schalke 04 also terminated their shirt sponsorship deal with Russian giants Gazprom days after the invasion. It’s not a one-way thing, as Three UK decided to part ways with Chelsea because of their Russian owner.

Televisions and streaming platforms have stopped showing live matches in Russia. This ethical move comes with lots of financial losses. Funds from Russian TV deals have been stopped, affecting the income of major European clubs that depend on these funds.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the circumstances, war is never the answer. Asides from the loss of life and properties that comes with it, other major sectors are affected.

Russia is an influential nation in the sports world. They were the host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and have played a part in sports development over the years. Their exclusion from international sporting events has proven to be disastrous to sports’ image and finance. Many people from around the world must be wondering what war in Ukraine looks like. Unfortunately, it can’t be a great sight, and we hope there is an end in sight.