FIFA is among the IFs which has not suspended its Russian member ©Getty Images

Sports Ministers from 35 nations, including 25 in the European Union (EU) as well as Japan and the United States, are calling on International Federations (IFs) to suspend their members from Russia and Belarus because of the war in Ukraine.

The group of Sports Ministers has also recommended that anyone closely connected to the Russian or Belarusian states, in particular Government officials, be removed from any positions of influence within sporting organisations.

IFs and other event organisers should further consider suspending agreements which allow their competitions to be broadcast on Russian and Belarusian television, the collection of Sports Ministers further suggest.

This common position follows on from a similar unified stance which was adopted in March by 37 nations.

That called for Russia and Belarus not to be allowed to host the events of any IF, for athletes representing Russian and Belarusian national teams not to be allowed to compete abroad, and for steps to be taken "to limit sponsorship and other financial support from entities with links to the Russian or Belarusian states".

Hungary and Switzerland signed that declaration but are not party to the latest stance, while EU member Bulgaria is also absent from the group.

The new common position builds on March's resolution and states that any athlete from Russia or Belarus allowed to compete in international competition must be doing do without national flags, symbols or anthems - and their public statements monitored to ensure they are projecting neutrality and not claiming to be representative of the Russian or Belarusian state.

The IOC has not suspended the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus or its Russian counterpart ©Getty Images
The IOC has not suspended the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus or its Russian counterpart ©Getty Images

Norway, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein and Iceland have all backed the latest joint position, along with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and the US.

The EU members to join in are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The group therefore encompasses the four next confirmed Olympic host nations - France, Italy, the US and Australia.

IFs were also encouraged to show solidarity with Ukraine and help with the reconstruction of the Ukrainian sports system where possible.

Athletes and teams from Russia and Belarus have largely been frozen out of international sport in response to the war in Ukraine.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that IFs ban athletes from the countries from their competitions and move any planned events away from Russia and Belarus, in response to the invasion constituting a breach of the Olympic Truce.

The vast majority of Olympic IFs have banned Russian and Belarusian competitors outright, although they may compete as neutrals in a few select sports, including tennis and judo.

Organisers of tennis Grand Slam Wimbledon, which is ongoing in London, banned players from Russia and Belarus in a contrast to the International Tennis Federation stance - which allowed such players to compete sans national flags - and Wimbledon lost its ranking points as a result.

IOC President Thomas Bach was critical of the Wimbledon position - which he interpreted as being the result of pressure from the UK Government - and insisted IFs must make their own responses to the war in Ukraine or risk "becoming a political tool".

IFs have been encouraged to show solidarity with Ukraine by the group of 35 Sports Ministers ©Getty Images
IFs have been encouraged to show solidarity with Ukraine by the group of 35 Sports Ministers ©Getty Images

Bach has also sought to frame the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes as a protective measure in recent weeks.

The IOC has suspended neither the Russian Olympic Committee or National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus, and no action has been taken against Russian IOC members.

Russian and Belarusian National Federations have largely escaped suspension from IFs despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Russian officials have also been able to take part in various Congresses in recent months, including for FIFA, the International Skating Union and the International Boxing Association.

At least 4,731 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia, with support from Belarus, launched a full-scale invasion on February 24, the United Nations reports, but it believes the true figure is far higher.

More than 7.5 million people have fled the country, while the combined military death toll is thought to exceed 20,000.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of carrying out war crimes, including executing civilians.

Russia calls the attack a "special military operation" and claims to be seeking to "de-nazify" Ukraine - a claim widely dismissed as fictitious.