Previous sporting bans as IOC calls on world to exclude Russia and Belarus

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After Russia was banned from all club football and international events, and the International Olympic Committee pressed for Belarusian athletes and officials to be included over the country's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, here are some previous politically-motivated sporting sanctions.

World Wars I and II

The two World Wars of the 20th century, which lasted from 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, led to the vanquished countries being excluded from the following Olympic Games.

In the case of World War I, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Turkey were not allowed to take part in the 1920 Games in Antwerp. Germany was also banned from the following Games in 1924 in Paris.

At the London and Saint-Moritz Summer and Winter Games in 1948, World War II aggressors Germany and Japan were not invited, and the Soviet Union stayed away.


After establishing its racist apartheid policy, South Africa was shut out of the 1964 Games in Tokyo.

The suspension was only lifted in 1992, at the Barcelona Games, after anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was freed and apartheid abolished.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

The 1980 Moscow Olympics were overshadowed by Cold War tensions when the United States led a 65-nation boycott in response to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan a year earlier.

Only 80 nations participated in Moscow, with 6,000 athletes competing, down from the 10,000 originally expected.

The Soviets reacted to the boycott by retaliating with a communist-bloc ban of their own at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Balkan wars

After the break out of the wars in the Balkans and the imposition of UN sanctions, Yugoslavia was banned from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and kicked out of football's European Championship held in Sweden by Uefa. Yugoslav athletes were allowed to compete as independents in Barcelona.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 5:04 AM