In a show of dissent, Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states made a significant statement at the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV)’s annual General Assembly, held in Brussels on Saturday. This bold move was sparked by their objection to the presence of Russian and Belarusian delegates, a stance announced by the Polish Volleyball Federation (PZPS).
Sebastian Swiderski, the President of PZPS, conveyed the organization’s stance in a statement to the Wirtualna Polska website. He highlighted the central issue: the participation of Russian and Belarusian representatives at the assembly, despite their national teams and clubs being prohibited from taking part in competitions. Swiderski argued that this presence contradicted the CEV’s own statute, which emphasizes the participation of active members. Moreover, he noted that the Russian and Belarusian delegates had actively participated in crucial voting on matters of significance during the assembly.
Notably, the CEV’s official website has made no reference to this boycott or the objections raised by these member states.
This move by Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states comes in the wake of a decision made by the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in March, which mandated that Russian and Belarusian athletes could only compete as neutral individuals and were ineligible to participate in team events. This IOC ruling was further upheld during the June session of the Executive Committee of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
The protest at the CEV’s General Assembly underscores the continuing tensions and concerns surrounding the participation of Russian and Belarusian representatives in international sports organizations, as well as the broader geopolitical issues that persist in the region.