Russia could be initiating a schism in the world of sports
It should be well-known by now that the more the situation in Ukraine goes on, the more sanctions will be imposed upon the Russian and Belarussian athletes. While the debate on whether they are justifiable or not goes on, Duma Deputy Boris Paikin, made a statement that created a lot of ripples. If the project is approved and put to effect, the repercussions could be quite radical. Putting all feelings aside and looking at it from a neutral perspective, it could be good news for the betting industry as there would be more options for the punters through their original accounts at all the major bookmakers.
A reaction from the Russian side was more or less expected. What was not expected was the scope. And it is not certain that what may follow said project has been considered all the way through.
Paikin brought forth the intention of the Russian ministry to organize their own set of international matches between the banned clubs and teams from countries friendly to the Federation. In essence, it’s a plan to create a parallel version of a Champions League that will be funded with 20 billion rubles (over 281 million Euros). As per the Deputy:
"The Ministry of Sports, together with the federations, should make every effort to organize colorful and spectacular competitions"
In addition, Paikin stated that they do have the necessary capability to organize such a project and he implied that those who would want to participate, should take the initiative and promote and hold competitions of international levels disregarding all sanctions.
The question on the schism comes through the expected reactions from the international ruling bodies.
If the previous reactions are to be considered, then FIFA, FIBA, UEFA and all other similar organizations will ban any club or national federation or association that would participate in such a venture, from all the acclaimed international competitions. In effect, the sporting world would be split in two parts. While that might be a temporary condition that could be reluctantly acceptable for the duration of hostilities, it is a fair question to ask what will happen after their end. Would the banned sides be unsuspended and welcomed back?
A further deliberation is to be given in reference to the value of the suspended athletes. Many will claim that the Russians could go on and organize whatever they want as most of their clubs are not strong enough to pose a title-claiming threat. However, this is not so with a good number of individual athletes. For example, Daniil Medvedev has already been and will probably be again, the world’s number 1 in tennis. Is it fair to strip him of his personal accomplishments?
It is not an outcome that many would wish for, however, it would seem that if the Russians proceed, then it is more than likely that there will be two sets of international competitions. While for those who register for an original betting account, it might be a good thing, it definitely is not for the world of sports.