European Biking Union cancels 2021 Elite Observe Championships in Minsk after political fall-out over Belarus’ diversion of passenger aircraft

European Biking Union cancels 2021 Elite Observe Championships in Minsk after political fall-out over Belarus’ diversion of passenger aircraft

The choice follows a livid response from the European Union after a Ryanair flight from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius was intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet and compelled to land in Minsk

European Cycling Union cancels 2021 Elite Track Championships in Minsk after political fall-out over Belarus' diversion of passenger plane

Representational picture. Picture credit score: Twitter/@UEC_cycling

Lausanne: The European observe biking championships, scheduled to be held in Minsk subsequent month, had been cancelled Thursday amid political fall-out from Belarus’ compelled touchdown of an airliner to arrest regime opponents.

“In gentle of the present worldwide state of affairs, the Administration Board has determined to cancel the 2021 Elite Observe European Championships scheduled in Minsk (Belarus) from 23 to 27 June 2021,” the European biking union (UEC) introduced.

UEC president Enrico Della Casa added: “We’ve got lately been monitoring the state of affairs with the Belarus Biking Federation which has now developed into a global debate and as we speak in the course of the Administration Board assembly, we’ve got determined to cancel the occasion in Minsk.

“We’re already engaged on discovering another answer to allow the riders from our 50 Nationwide Federations to compete on this season’s continental occasion.”

The choice follows a livid response from the European Union after a Ryanair flight from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius was intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet and compelled to land in Minsk on Sunday in order that authorities might arrest opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

The EU banned Belarusian planes from the bloc’s airspace and urged EU airways to keep away from flying over the ex-Soviet nation dominated for almost 27 years by Alexander Lukashenko, usually dubbed “Europe’s final dictator”.

However a defiant Lukashenko mentioned he had “acted lawfully to guard our individuals”, in an tackle to parliament on Wednesday.

In his first public assertion for the reason that Ryanair flight was diverted and Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega had been arrested, Lukashenko dismissed the worldwide outcry.

The criticism was nothing greater than one other try by his opponents to undermine his rule, he mentioned, accusing them of waging a “fashionable, hybrid conflict” towards Belarus and of crossing “boundaries of widespread sense and human morality”.

The UEC’s determination to scrap the championships was pre-empted by the withdrawal of the German and Dutch biking federations on Wednesday.

“After the occasions of final weekend, we’ve got made contact with the European Biking Union (UEC) and made clear that our participation just isn’t doable underneath these circumstances,” mentioned the German federation (BDR) in a press release.

The BDR added that that they had urged the UEC to give you “another answer” amid rising requires the event to be moved.

The Dutch federation (KNWU) mentioned that “the protection of riders and employees can’t be assured”.

Belarus, whose leaders are already underneath a sequence of Western sanctions over a brutal crackdown of protesters after final 12 months’s disputed elections, has additionally confronted rising scrutiny in sports activities in latest months.

In January, the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation, underneath stress from its sponsors, stripped Belarus of its function as co-host of the world championships. They started on 21 Might in Latvia, the place all of the video games can be performed.

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