The FIM has announced significant updates as the warfare in eastern Europe drags on, with a ban on competitors from Belarus and Russia. As well, the FIM is pulling its support from motorcycle events in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
The FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) is the group that organizes much of the world’s international motorcycle racing competition, or at least provides guidelines for such races to run. The FIM directly manages some series, but in the case of MotoGP, World Superbike and other races with strong money behind them, the FIM’s role is more supervisory, with a strong emphasis on helping racers move between countries and series.
So, if racers from Russia or Belarus wish to take part in an FIM-sanction series such as MotoGP, the ISDE or SuperEnduro World Cup, they now lose their license to compete. Riders from Russia and Belarus aren’t common in roadracing, but we have heard of at least one Russian rider who was booted from an enduro event over this policy, and as rally raid season picked up, we’re sure to see more riders missing. Obviously, the Silk Way Rally (the FIM-sanctioned rally raid event that travels through Russia and Mongolia) is in doubt.
This isn’t just because the FIM is pulling its licencing to make a statement. The FIM is also canceling its involvement with events in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Obviously, combat in Ukraine would make it impossible to run the FIM’s enduro training camps there, or other events, and the locals certainly have much more pressing matters to attend to.
Across the border, even if Russia and Belarus weren’t being crippled by economic sanctions, would racers even want to attend events in those countries, at this point? It seems unlikely, especially as international tensions increase, not to mention logistical issues, with travel to Russia increasingly becoming more difficult. Indeed, as rapidly rising prices throw our economies into disarray, it seems likely that financial and socio-political realities will impact motorsport in ways that we have yet to understand.
See the FIM’s statement on the situation below:
FIM announces its decisions in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The FIM Board of Directors held an extraordinary meeting on 5 March 2022 in relation to the situation in Ukraine.
After having carefully considered the International Olympic Committee recommendations and the specificity of our sport, the Board of Directors has unanimously condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Henceforth the following provisional urgent and protective decisions have been taken which are effective immediately and stay in force until further notice:
• To suspend, for the Motorcycle Federation of Russia (MFR) and the Belarusian Federation of Motorcycle Sport (BFMS), the issuance of FIM licences and the FIM licences already distributed. To suspend the functions of persons from MFR and BFMS acting as FIM Officials and as Commissions members/experts/agents of the FIM. As a result, no Russian and Belarusian riders, teams and officials can take part in any FIM Events and activities.
• To suspend the registration of and to cancel all FIM Events such as FIM International Meetings, FIM World Championships and FIM Prize Events taking place in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and, if applicable, to relocate these FIM Events to another country.
• To interrupt any other FIM activities including but not limited to seminars, commissions meetings, training camps taking place in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
The FIM Board of Directors unanimously recommends to all Affiliated Members and Continental Unions to apply these measures at the national and continental levels.
The FIM President, Jorge Viegas added: “We stand in sympathy and solidarity with all those suffering, as a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, and remain in close contact with our affiliate member in Ukraine (FMU). I would like to thank the FIM Board of Directors members in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace. The FIM, together with its promoters and organisers, already acted on this matter and cancelled the FIM competitions scheduled in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The decisions announced today are in line with the recommendations and statements made by the International Olympic Committee, adapted to suit our sport. The FIM family is watching the developments in Ukraine with great sadness and hope for a prompt and peaceful resolution.”