Belarus' Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau and Russia's Zaurbek Sidakov will be among those to be impacted by the UWW's decision ©Getty Images

The United World Wrestling (UWW) has barred wrestlers from representing Russia and Belarus on the international stage and announced the cancellation of all events due to be held in the two nations this year.

The UWW is among the latest International Federation to follow the recommendations set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in response to the involvement of Russia and Belarus in the invasion of Ukraine.

A meeting was held by the UWW Bureau to discuss the conflict taking place in Ukraine as Russian forces continue to attack Ukrainian cities with Belarus assisting in the invasion.

The UWW Bureau described the war as "deplorable" and underlined its mission to "promote peace through sports" by adhering to the IOC’s recommendations.

"From the outset, the Bureau wished to express its solidarity with the Wrestling community, and more largely, the sports community in Ukraine and all the people affected by the war," a statement from the UWW read.

"In order to preserve the safety of all athletes and the integrity and fairness of all its competitions, as a measure of reciprocity for all wrestlers prevented to travel and compete due to this situation, the Bureau carefully reviewed, and decided to align with the events protective measures recommended by the IOC in its statement on February 28, 2022.

"In this deplorable situation, the Bureau has decided that no wrestlers or officials belonging to the UWW affiliated and associated federations in Russia and Belarus shall be, with immediate effect, invited or allowed to participate in international competitions in the UWW calendar.

"The Bureau also approved the cancellation of the international tournaments planned in Russia or Belarus this year as per the IOC’s urgent recommendation on February 25, 2022."

Serbia’s Nenad Lalović, a member of the IOC’s Executive Board, has led the UWW since 2014.

The UWW’s leadership team includes Russians Natalia Yariguina and Mikhail Mamiashvili who are both vice-presidents of the organisation.

Abdulrashid Sadulaev was among four wrestlers that earned gold for the Russian Olympic Committee at last year's Olympics in Tokyo ©Getty Images
Abdulrashid Sadulaev was among four wrestlers that earned gold for the Russian Olympic Committee at last year's Olympics in Tokyo ©Getty Images

Krasnoyarsk in Russia was due to stage this year’s World Wrestling Championships only for it to be moved to Serbia because of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions imposed over the cover-up of a state-sponsored doping programme.

Under the WADA ruling, Russia will not be able to host, or be granted the right to stage, any major events during the two-year suspension which is due to finish at the end of this year.

It is unknown whether the latest move by the IOC to punish Russia following the attack on Ukraine will impact on the staging of next year’s World Wrestling Championships, scheduled to be held in Russia.

While events in Russia and Belarus have been cancelled, the UWW schedule still includes tournaments scheduled to take place in Ukraine.

The Odessa Beach Wrestling World Series is slated to be held on May 28 and 29 with Ukrainian capital Kyiv set to host the European Kazak Kuresi Championships from July 27 to 31.

The UWW Bureau said it would continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and "make any further immediate decisions as the situation evolves".

Although the IOC advised International Federations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes outright, it has said they can compete as neutrals when it is not possible to remove them from competition for legal reasons or at such short notice.

This means that no athlete or team would be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus, with a recommendation for no national symbols, colours, flags or anthems to be displayed.