Mobile World Congress cancels Russian pavilion over Ukraine invasion

The Champions League soccer final has also been moved from St. Petersburg to Paris in condemnation of the military aggression

The Fira convention center in Barcelona where the 2022 Mobile World Congress will take place.
The Fira convention center in Barcelona where the 2022 Mobile World Congress will take place.Quique Garcia (EFE)

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) announced on Friday the cancellation of the Russian pavilion at the congress in condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, GSMA, the organizer of the event, which is the largest trade show of the telecom industry, said that it “strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is following “all government sanctions and policies” resulting from the conflict.

“In light of this emerging situation and considering the tragic loss of life, MWC seems immaterial under the circumstances,” it stated. “There will be no Russian pavilion at MWC22.”

GMSA has not yet announced whether private Russian companies will be able to participate in the event. According to sources from the GMSA, Ukraine does not have a pavilion at the congress. In the list of exhibitors, the state-owned Russian Export Center was allocated space in Hall 5, which was also set to hold stands from 11 Russian tech companies, including SoftMediaLab, TrueConf and SIGMA Messaging.

The MWC will go on as planned from February 28 to March 3 in the Spanish city of Barcelona, with expectations of about 50,000 people attending the show. In the press release, the GMSA defended the MWC as “a unifying event with a vision to convene the mobile ecosystem to progress ways and means that connectivity can ensure people, industry and society thrive.” The statement added that “security for the event is constantly reviewed and adjusted as information emerges.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also sparked condemnation from sports institutions. On Friday, the executive committee of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced that the Men’s Champions League soccer final will be moved from the Russian city of Saint Petersburg to France. The match will now take place in the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Also on Friday, Formula 1 announced that it would be “impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”

UEFA made the announcement via a press release on social media, stating: “UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis.”

UEFA also promised to “support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”

At least 137 people, military and civilian, have been reported dead by Ukrainian authorities as a result of the conflict.


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