ICSD Calls for Peace but their challengers will not back away.

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Its has been a week since the ICSD called for peace ahead of the 2021 Summer Deaflympics in Brazil and many are wondering what is happening about its Russian staff and the ongoing Court case.

The ICSD Board met on 5 March and in solidarity with their Ukraine members, agreed to follow the IOC, IPC and demands from its own members by banning all athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from invitations or taking part in any international competitions on the ICSD calendar until further notice.

This years Summer Deaflympics are short on funds due to the number of countries who are not participating.

This decision will have an economic impact on this Summer’s Deaflympic games to be held in Brazil and it has been decided to cancel the Bowling programme because the technical requirements will need a heavy financial commitment which has been lost due to the number of countries who are not sending teams to compete as well as the banishment of Russia and Belarus.

Taipei have written to ICSD to say that it was an ‘unwise’ decision to cancel the bowling because athletes have been preparing for 4 – 4.5 years for the competition and they have requested that the ICSD reconsider its decision.

Meanwhile, National Sports Federations have been consulting with their governments for advice on how they should engage with International Federations which have significant Russian influence in their leadership. The ICSD’s Chief Executive, Dmitry Rebrov is Russian and people have been asking what should be done about his influence on Deaf sport especially due to the fact that he has been found guilty of falsifying audiograms and recently took control of ICSD by preventing the previously elected board from accessing their official ICSD emails and servers.

The ICSD and its CEO are now facing a challenge in court over the validity of the recent Extraordinary Congress in Switzerland where the new board was elected. The latest updates with letters and videos on the court case are available on Facebook.

ICSD Under pressure to take action against the invasion of Ukraine.

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National Federations of Deaf sport are pleading with the ICSD Board to take action against its Russian and Belarusian members. Appeals have also gone out to support Ukrainian athletes.

Yesterday, 3rd March and overnight, after a request for support from the Ukraine Deaf Sports Federation, letters have been sent to the ICSD from national and regional associations including EDSO, Great Britain, Nordic Baltic Federation ( Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden,), Poland and Taiwan urging the ICSD to impose a ban on Russia and Belarus.

Gustavo Perazzolo, ICSD, under pressure to ban Russia and Belarus from international competitions.

Despite condemnation of the invasion from the World Federation of the Deaf, close bonds of the Deaf sports community have been highlighted in expressions of regret that the athletes of Russia and Belarus have to suffer for the actions their governments and heads of state. Lebannon requested that ban should not go ahead because:

“We believe that we should separate the political situations of the world and the sports athletes. it is in our opinion that it is entirely not fair to blame the Russian Deaf athlete for what is happening in Ukraine; the problem is to do with the Russian Government.” (Lebanese Federation of the Deaf)

The ICCD, International Chess Committee of the Deaf, explained why sanctions have to be imposed:

“The Russian and Belarusian deaf athletes have nothing to do with the Kremlin’s decision yet they are tarred with the same brush and face severe consequences. ICCD finds this extremely sad for politics have gotten in the way of deaf sport where there is strong unity between deaf sportsmen. Yet this has to be actioned for the ICSD cannot be exempt from IOC and other sporting authorities.” (ICCD)

Ivan Kulakov, Executive Sport Director of Ukraine Deaf Sport Federation has been sending thanks to those who have shown their support:

“Very grateful for your support for the sanctioning of the occupying countries for the ICSD. We believe that the global deaf community will come to the right conclusion about stopping the war. Sport is a competition between peaceful nations!” (UDSF)

Logo of the Ukraine Deaf Sport Federation

The U-turn of the IPC yesterday to ban Russia and Belarus from the Winter Paralympics was largely a result of pressure from athletes already in the Paralympic village. The ICCD have warned the ICSD not to ignore the situation:

“The ICSD should take into account the Ukraine Deaf Sports Federation’s depleted preparation for the Deaflympics and other major sporting events (chess included). Furthermore, it may seem unlikely that Ukraine will be represented at the Deaflympics; if that is the case, then it would reflect badly on ICSD of both Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate. The would cause uproar from the other ICSD countries.”

The impact on international deaf sport events is already being felt. the European Chess Championships at Cordoba in Spain has been relying on a large number of players from Russia and Ukraine and has now been ‘thrown into chaos’ according to ICCD.

As we wrote earlier this week, Canada is hosting the World Deaf Curling in Banff, Alberta. According to announcements, the Ukrainian curlers have had their entry visas approved and are now on their way to Warsaw to collect he visas and fly out from there. Both the Canadian and Alberta Deaf Sports Associations have agreed to sponsor the expenses of the Ukrainians and they are appealing for donations to support this fund. Any donations can be made by contacting info@albertadeafsports.ca

How will ICSD now follow the IPC and IOC decision making?

Today the IPC announced that Russia and Belarus can compete at the Winter Paralympics as neutral athletes. Whilst no decisions or statements have been made by the Brazilian and Russian-led ICSD. It is anyone guess which way they will move.

In a statement today, the International Paralympic Committee have announced that the RPC and NPC Belarus will participate as neutrals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. They will compete under the Paralympic flag and not be included in the medal table.

The IPC will host an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2022 “to vote on whether to make compliance with the Olympic Truce a membership requirement and whether to suspend or terminate membership of the Russian and Belarus Paralympic Committees”.

The IPC will not hold any events in Russia or Belarus until further notice.

The ICSD has yet to make a statement, its CEO and staff are Russian, based in Moscow and the registered office is in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ICSD and IPC presidents are both Brazilian and it is quite possible that ICSD’s Gustavo may follow Andrew Parsons (IPC) and be influenced by the ICSD CEO to go gentle on Russia and Belarus. Brazil are due to host the 2022 Summer Deaflympics in May.

Alisher Usmanov has stepped down as President of the International Fencing Federation, after the European Union imposed economic sanctions on him over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The World Curling Federation has removed the European Championships from Russia. World Athletics, FIFA and International Biathlon Union are amongst sports who have imposed bans.

The global Deaf community has been vocal about the invasion of Ukraine, the World Athletics and Federation of the Deaf has shown its solidarity and support to the Ukraine Federation of the Deaf.

Helga Stevens, former European Member of Parliament commented on social media that she is curious to see what ICSD will do after the world of sport has joined forces to stand by Ukraine. She hopes that ICSD will follow the examples set by the IOC and IPC.

As far as we can see, as we go to press, there have been no statements or decision making from any of the ICSD regional federations, their national members nor associate members.

Comments have been made on social media that the ICSD has been removing comments and posts that mention the invasion on Ukraine.

Will ICSD listen to the request of the IOC?

The International Olympic Committee have asked all International sports federations to stop flying the flags of Russia and Belarus at sporting events.

Federations are being asked to cancel all planned sports events in Russia and Belarus or move them to alternative venues..

Leading figures have condemned the attack by Russia and are offering their support to members of the sporting communities in Ukraine.

The European Union governments are uniting in their condemnation and placing sanctions on key people and organisations in Russia and Belarus. As the representative of ICSD in Europe, the EDSO have yet to show their hand.

The ICSD is an international Federation. Will they comply?