Moscow and Yekaterinburg will be the venues for the World Friendship Games (WFG) from 15 to 29 September next year. There will be 27 different sports and Russia claims that 10,000 athletes from 137 participating countries may participate.

It is doubtful that many nations will participate, if they do, they are violating the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) and the international sports federations' recommendations not to compete in Russia.

Unlike the Olympics, Russia offers a lot of prize money – the equivalent of SEK 500 million. The idea is that the WFG will return every two years – right after the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is not merciless in his criticism of the Russian Games.

"The Russian government accuses us of not being politically neutral. At the same time, the same government is trying to organize a totally politicized sporting event," Bach said, according to Inside the Games.

Keeping track of nations

The IOC said it would keep an eye on nations that intend to participate in the Russian Games.

"Because the World Friendship Games not only go against the February 2022 recommendations not to participate in competitions in Russia, but they also go against the Olympic Movement's common purpose of maintaining the independence and autonomy of sport," James Macleod, IOC director for relations with the National Olympic Committees, said, according to Inside the Games.

"The World Friendship Games is meant to harmonize with the international sports calendar. And for Russian athletes, who have been barred from major sporting events, the World Friendship Games will be the most important sporting competition in recent years, giving them the opportunity to face the best possible opposition and giving them motivation and help to continue their sporting careers," the WFG organizer said in a statement to TASS.