LEN has decided not to invite Russian and Belarusian athletes to LEN events, due to the situation in Ukraine.
That means that the remaining two Russian teams in the water polo competitions for clubs – Kinef Kirishi and Dynamo Uralochka -have been excluded from the LEN Euro League.
The LEN Bureau issued an official statement today:
„LEN strongly condemns the actions of the Russian government supported by Belarus, in its invasion of Ukraine. This act of war has shattered the lives of Ukrainian citizens and is totally against the spirit of sport.
The Bureau of European Aquatics (LEN) met yesterday and decided not to invite Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to LEN events in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, until further notice. This is in line with recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and aims to overcome practical conditions related to the decisions of certain countries, as well as to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all athletes. LEN is committed to continue its work with FINA, the world aquatic governing body, to implement our respective positions and hope for a better future.“
A few hours after this announcement, LEN clarified what would happen with the LEN competitions for clubs after the exclusions of the Russians. Kinef qualified for the Euro League Final Four. Dynamo didn’t play a return leg of the quarterfinals against Plebiscito Padova. Last week, LEN moved that match to March 3 in Belgrade. But, the game in Belgrade has been canceled.
It was agreed that after the exclusion of Kinef and Dynamo, the respective quarter-final opponents of these two teams, UVSE (Hungary) and Plebiscito Padova (Italy), qualify for the Euro League Final Four, LEN said in a Press Release.
Besides UVSE and Plebiscito, Olympiacos and Sabadell qualified for the F4, which will be held on April 1 and 2 (host to be decided).
This decision leaves only two teams to contest the LEN Trophy. Therefore, the F4 won’t be held. The participating clubs – Dunaujvaros (Hungary) and Ethnikos (Greece) will play a final on a home-and-away basis.
The draws for both finals were conducted.
Euro League F4 (April 1 – 2), semifinals: Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece) – UVSE Hunguest Hotels (Hungary), Astralpool Sabadell (Spain) – Plebiscito Padova (Italy).
Dunaujvaros will be the host in the first leg of the LEN Trophy final on March 26. The second game will be played in Ethnikos’ pool on March 30.
Two days ago, FINA allowed the athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutral athletes and teams.
However, it’s still questionable if the Russian water polo teams will play their following matches in the World League. A new date and a venue of the game Russia – Greece (men) haven’t been confirmed yet. The female team was supposed to play an away match against Spain on March 15. But, that game is also under question.