Ukraine strips sports federation of national status over photo with Russian woman

Maxim InshakovSport
The scandalous photo was taken in early May in Belgrade

A commission of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine has deprived the Ukrainian Underwater Sports Federation (USF) of its national status, Tribuna reports. The reason for this decision was a photo taken on April 7 in Belgrade, Serbia, at the General Assembly of the International Federation of Underwater Sports (CMAS).

The photo shows Ukrainian Iryna Predko (wife of USF Vice President Stanislav Predko) and Russian Anna Arzhanova (CMAS President).


Natalia Chekodanova, head of the sports committee of the Ukrainian Underwater Sports Federation, believes that the current situation is an attack on the Ukrainian federation by competitors who want to take over.

"In fact, there was no brotherhood with the Russian woman. Iryna Predko was there as a private citizen and travelled to Belgrade at her own expense. When one of the athletes found out that she was in the EU, he asked her to convey the opinion of Ukrainians. Iryna Predko made a tough speech demanding the disqualification of Russians and Belarusians," Natalia Viktorivna said in an interview with Express.


Chekodanova said that this scandalous photo was an accident.

"The Ukrainian woman was taking a picture with the secretary general of the federation and a friend, and Arzhanova unexpectedly joined them. Finally, I would like to point out that the latter has been living in Spain for 12 years, has publicly condemned Russia's invasion and even called for the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes. And now the CMAS Board of Directors has allowed them to participate only because the International Olympic Committee has made such a decision," added the head of the USF Sports Committee.

Yevhen Pronin, President of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation and a lawyer who represented the Federation of Underwater Sports at the meeting of the Ministry of Sport, said that such a photo could not be a sufficient reason to deprive the national status.


"It's even kind of embarrassing to discuss this, because there is no such basis for depriving the national status. The federation has represented this sport for decades, had national status for decades, and here it is being deprived of it manually, as if based on some photo. This is state interference in the autonomy of public organisations and sports federations," Tirbuna quoted Pronin as saying.

According to the lawyer, the Federation of Underwater Sports will continue to fight in the legal field.

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