Russia and China have signed a sporting memorandum of understanding ©Getty Images

Russia and China have signed a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation in sport amid the threat of breakaway events to the Olympic Movement. 

The deal was signed in Beijing by Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin and Gao Zhidan, China's director of the State General Administration of Sports.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Premier of the State Council of China Li Qiang were in attendance to observe the signing.

Both countries have pledged to share information and experiences and hold meetings and sporting events.

High-performance sport, youth sport and Paralympic sport are all included, as well as sports science, sports technology and anti-doping.

The agreement will be seen as a boost by Russia which has been frozen out of much of international sport following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The country is seeking alternative sporting avenues with the Russian-Chinese Youth Summer Games currently underway in Chinese city Chongqing.

Putin has also officially proposed to his Government that they should organise the "World Friendship Games" shortly after the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Russia hopes that the Games could feature BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The heads of the BRICS countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader  Xi Jinping, in 2018 ©Getty Images
The heads of the BRICS countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader  Xi Jinping, in 2018 ©Getty Images

Matytsin has proposed hosting the first Games of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as a number of observer nations and dialogue partners.

"Cooperation with China in the field of sports has a long-term stable basis, we respect each other's interests, exchange experiences, respond to new challenges, shaping the present and future of sports in our countries," Matytsin said, according to Russia's state news agency TASS

"One of the confirmations of this is the holding of the Russian-Chinese Youth Games.

"For 17 years, Russian and Chinese athletes have been gaining experience and competitive practice in a fair fight, learning to respect the opponent, win and learn from defeats. 

"Our cooperation with our Chinese colleagues is constantly expanding - we pay serious attention to personnel training and scientific exchange, the development of mass sports. 

"The memorandum of cooperation is part of the overall foreign policy strategy defined by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"The implementation of the directions of the memorandum, I am sure, will be a significant impetus to the further development of our professional and friendly relations in sports."

Matytsin added that Russia was interested in joint Paralympic events with BRICS and SCO countries.

"An important part of the memorandum of understanding and cooperation between Russia and China, signed in the presence of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, is dedicated, among other things, to the organisation of events and competitions among Paralympic athletes," he said.

"Now we are actively working on the platform of the SCO, BRICS, we are interested in holding competitions among the countries that are members of these organisations, including competitions among Paralympic athletes. 

"We are united in the understanding that we must be together and resist the negative phenomena that now exists in the world. 

"These are the phenomena of discrimination, politicisation of sports, restrictions on the rights of athletes to participate in competitions. 

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin signed the memorandum of understanding in Beijing ©Getty Images
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin signed the memorandum of understanding in Beijing ©Getty Images

"People with disabilities are real heroes, they set an example for others with their lives, how to fight, believe in themselves, be proud of their country."

Russia has already held a Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics replacement event in Khanty-Mansiysk, attended by five countries. 

Rebel events competing with the Olympic Games is a nightmare scenario for the International Olympic Committee, especially if global superpowers like Russia and China are involved.

A multi-sport event known as the Friendship Games was organised by the Soviet Union and eight of its allies in 1984 after the country boycotted the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.

In 1986, CNN founder Ted Turner launched the Goodwill Games, which were briefly seen as being a serious rival to the IOC.

Indonesia launched the Games of New Emerging Forces which held two editions in the 1960s as an Olympic rival.