The Rundown

Six boycotts that rocked the sporting world

The Rundown

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CSKA Moscow fans

After Yaya Toure suggested black players may stage a boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia unless the country tackles racism in football, we look back at some other sporting boycotts.

1930 World Cup

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Uruguayans Pedro Cea, Hector Scarone and Hector Castro (from L) celebrate after Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the …

The only World Cup without qualification. Every FIFA affiliated country was invited to compete and given a February 28 deadline to accept. No European team entered by the deadline due to a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean. FIFA president Jules Rimet intervened and eventually Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia made the trip.

1980 Moscow Olympics

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Steve Ovett

The boycott was part of a number of actions initiated by the United States to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Great Britain supported the boycott but was powerless to stop athletes competing individually. Britain won five golds – including Steve Ovett in the 800 and Seb Coe in the 1500m. They competed under the Olympic flag. In retaliation, the Soviet Union and its allies boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

2005 US Grand Prix

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The wrecked Toyota Formula One car of Ralph Schumacher

After Ralf Schumacher crashed badly at the practice session ahead of the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, tyre supplier Michelin advised teams that their tyres were not safe to use for the race. Michelin supplied tyres to seven of the ten teams leaving just six cars to start the race, which Michael Schumacher won.

1982 South African Grand Prix

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Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda led the strike after the imposition of the new "superlicences", which Lauda believed would unfairly tie drivers to teams. After a stand-off, concessions were made and the race was reinstated. However, after the race, the stewards went back on their word and suspended the licenses of the drivers who went on strike.

2009 Zimbabwe tour of England

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The ECB cancelled the tour after the intervention of Gordon Brown’s government due to concerns over human rights abuses conducted by despotic ruler Robert Mugabe. "We want to ensure that Zimbabwe does not tour England next year and we will call for other countries to join us in banning Zimbabwe from the Twenty20 international tournament," said Brown.

1973 Wimbledon

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Jan Kodes

Some of the biggest names in men’s tennis boycotted the 1973 tournament in solidarity with Yugoslavia's Nikki Pilic, who had been suspended by the then governing body, the International Lawn Tennis Federation, after he was suspended for missing a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand. A clay-court specialist Jan Kodes won the tournament.

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