World Gymnastics Championships: Russian cash to be rejected from Liverpool based contest

Sanctions mean Russian bank cash won’t be accepted for the October competition.

Potential income from Russian sources are to be rejected when this year’s World Gymnastics Championships comes to Liverpool later this month.

On October 29, more than 400 gymnasts from 74 countries will gather in the city to compete in the international championships acting as a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Planning is well underway, with the M&S Bank Arena preparing to host the eight-day event and gymnasts and delegations beginning to arrive in the city from October 24.

A report to Liverpool Council’s culture and visitor economy select committee has detailed how ticket sales have performed well to date, with 79% actually sold and 99% forecast income. The report said: “We will continue to sell up until the event to ensure the best audience figures for the event.

“Both income and tickets sold remain ahead of forecast.” The costs of the event are to be met from a range of sources including contributions from the local authority, UK Sport, and British Gymnastics.

However, a key sponsor of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique – the sport’s governing body – will have its projected income rejected in view of the current situation in Ukraine. International sanctions against Russia and its national organisations mean any possible cash to come from VTB Bank will be turned away.

The local authority update report said any shortfalls as a result of the sanctions are anticipated to be covered from contingency funding via UK Sport. Expenditure remains within budget and in line with forecast.

In the event of an income surplus this will be split pro rata between the funding partners including Liverpool Council, UK Sport and British Gymnastics. The sporting contest will be broadcast across three BBC channels in full, with the European Broadcasting Union – which will work with the city as Eurovision preparations hot up – showing the finals to 45 countries across Europe.

Between 10 to 15 individual international broadcasters are expected to attend and communication has been made with TV Asahi in Japan, SRG of Switzerland, German network ZDF, NOS in the Netherlands, VRT in Belgium, NBC, Brazil’s TV Globo and TV Volant in Iran. Final broadcast attendance deadline is October 17.

The gymnasts will stay in eight city centre hotels across the eight days while 460 confirmed volunteers have accepted 2,915 shifts. Of the volunteers, 87 are aged between 18-24, whilst 103 are over 65 with the oldest volunteer being 85 years old.