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Sport and live entertainment condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ordered invasion of Ukraine, figures and clubs in sport, art and live entertainment have not only condemned his actions but have also cancelled performances and matches in response.

The Russian State Ballet was due to perform at theatres in Northampton and Wolverhampton, but has now been cancelled due to the invasion.

The Royal and Derngate in Northampton said in a tweet: “Given the situation in Ukraine, Royal and Derogate have taken the decision to cancel today’s [Saturday’s] performances of The Russian State Ballet.

“All customers who have purchased tickets for the ballet will receive a full refund and be contacted by our box office team over the next 10 days.”

American band Green Day has called off its May concert at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

In a statement to Variety, the band said: “With heavy hearts, in light of current events we feel it is necessary to cancel our upcoming show in Moscow at Spartak Stadium. We are aware that this moment is not about stadium rock shows, it’s much bigger than that.

“But we also know that rock and roll is forever and we feel confident there will be a time and a place for us to return in the future. Stay safe.”

Russia will also no longer be able to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that including Russia would bring the “competition into disrepute”, despite saying the country could continue to be involved 24 hours earlier.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” said a statement from the EBU.

On Friday, European football governing body UEFA decided to move the Champions League final away from Saint Petersburg. Formula 1 also cancelled the Russian Grand Prix, which was due to be held in September.

Pohoda, a Slovakian music and arts festival which has welcomed the likes of Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Björk, The 1975, Tame Impala and Fatboy Slim over the years, held a festival in Bratislava to show solidarity with Ukraine yesterday (Sunday).

Michal Kaščák, founder and director of the festival, said: “With this concert, we want to show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The liberal arts are developing best in free countries, and we know that our friends in Ukraine are trying to do the same.

“Every year, great artists from Ukraine perform at Pohoda, we receive representatives of their media, we have many visitors and great relationships with promoters from Ukraine.

“We want to let them all know also this way that we are with them in these difficult times. It is clear that if a similar attack concerned Slovakia, one of the first targets would be the Trenčín airport, which is also used for many civilian activities, including our festival.”

A number of stadiums and venues have shown their own solidarity with Ukraine, by illuminating structures in yellow and blue.

Wembley Stadium’s famous arch was lit up with the colours of Ukraine’s flag with the English Football Association releasing this accompanying statement: “Out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, The FA can confirm that we won’t play against Russia in any International fixtures for the foreseeable future.

“This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football.”

Similar stances have been taken by the likes of the Polish FA and Swedish FA, who have refused to play in any World Cup qualifiers against Russia, even if the team is not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.

Oak View Group (OVG), a venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has also condemned the events in Ukraine.

Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which is owned and operated by OVG, was bathed in blue and yellow light to stand with the country (pictured main).

In a statement, OVG said: “In light of the tragic conflict rapidly unfolding in Ukraine, Oak View Group has pledged to not do business in or with Russia, nor will we serve Russian brands in any of our venues on a global basis, effective immediately.

“We stand with the people of Ukraine, we condemn the actions of Russia, and we hope our stance inspires others in our industry to take action where they can.”

Image: OVG