RIGA - The Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee on Tuesday approved for final reading in parliament draft amendments to the Sports Law that would ban Latvian national teams from playing against Russian or Belarusian teams.
The draft legislation passed the second, or penultimate, reading in the Saeima at the end of last year.
The new regulation will prohibit Latvian national teams from playing against Russian or Belarusian teams, regardless whether they play under their own flag or as teams of neutral athletes.
The amended Sports Law will also forbid to organize national team competitions (adult, youth and junior) in Latvia in which the national teams of Russia or Belarus participate under their own flag or in a neutral capacity.
The Saeima has yet to hold the third and final reading of the draft amendments.
The annotation to the draft amendments, proposed by New Unity, says that in Russia's foreign policy doctrine, one of the ways of spreading its values is the use of the so-called "soft power" in relations with foreign countries, and sport is one of the ways it is used.
The main purpose of the amendments to the Sports Law is to reiterate Latvia's solidarity with Ukraine and to block any attempts by Russia to legitimize its war crimes through sport.