Plowing World Championship in Russia canceled

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The 67th World Plowing Championship, due to take place in Russia later this year, is likely to be cancelled, the Irish Examiner understand.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg on August 13-14 after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was last held in Minnesota, USA, in 2019, and is expected to return to Ireland in 2023.

The world championships were due to take place in Ireland in 2021 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the National Plowing Association. The Secretary General of the World Labor Organization, Anna Marie McHugh, told the Irish Examiner that the decision to cancel the 2022 event will be officially finalized on Thursday evening.

“If anything, we are ahead of the curve, in that before the Ukrainian invasion, we had already had emergency talks at the global tillage level, and we had scheduled a meeting of the council of administration to review the status of the event and since the invasion, the morning of the invasion, we rescheduled that meeting to Thursday of this week to make a decision,” Ms. McHugh said.

“So the decision needs to be finalized formally, and it will be done. [on Thursday] night. Although we have started our cancellation process since the beginning of last week, the actual formal cancellation will take place [on Thursday] night.”

Ms McHugh said based on her correspondence “from the board of 30 countries” there were “no questions about the cancellation”. “I would be very confident that will be the decision,” she said.

“Our Russian colleagues have accepted that the event cannot take place. We sympathize overwhelmingly with the Ukrainian situation,” she added.

She also said: “We have Russian colleagues who are also going through a terrible situation at the moment, they have worked so hard and for so many years to organize an event like this in Russia. They said themselves it couldn’t happen, but they are the ordinary farming community.

A Fianna Fáil senator this week also called for the event to be canceled “in view of Russia’s indefensible and increasingly aggressive military invasion of Ukraine”.

“People are disgusted by the actions of Vladimir Putin, who is a thug and a lunatic dictator, and the Russian government,” Timmy Dooley said.

“I have been in contact with the farming community across Ireland and they are adamant that the World Plowing Championships cannot be associated with aggression and terror from the Russian state.”

Meanwhile, Mr Dooley’s party colleague, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, is taking part in an informal meeting of EU agriculture ministers on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the potential consequences of the conflict for the European agri-food sector.

Mr McConalogue said the Irish government “has been clear in its outright condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

“We are at the forefront of efforts across the UN to end this conflict and hold Russia accountable, and we fully support EU sanctions against Russia,” he added.

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