WORLD tennis No1 Daniil Medvedev could still compete at Wimbledon – but only if he condemns Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said Russian players would certainly not be allowed to fly their country’s flag in SW19 this summer.
And he added: “But it needs to go further than that. We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin.”
Publicly denouncing Putin’s war on Ukraine carries a maximum 15-year jail term and would be risky for athletes.
Mr Huddleston said he was in discussions with the All England Tennis Club about Russian involvement in Wimbledon this year.
He told MPs “I don’t think people would accept them very clearly flying the Russian flag in particular if there’s any element of support for Putin and his regime.”
Russia has been frozen out of most international sporting events since waging a murderous war on Ukraine.
The Champions League final has been moved from St Petersburg, and Russian athletes are effectively banned from international sport.
Mr Huddleston said Russia would likely remain a sporting pariah for “many many years”, but it was for Putin to back down.
It came as Britain unloaded a fresh tranche of sanctions on Kremlin cronies, including Putin’s PM, press secretary and top general.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Working closely with our allies, we will keep increasing the pressure on Putin and cut off funding for the Russian war machine.”
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