The Sverdlovsk region Ministry of Sport said it is preparing the Palace of Sporting Games in Yekaterinburg for next year's FISU Summer World University Games, despite the threat they will be stripped of the event ©Getty Images

Yekaterinburg is continuing preparations for staging next year's International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games through the renovation of Palace of Sporting Games, despite the increasing likelihood that Russia will be stripped of hosting rights.

The vast majority of upcoming sporting events due to be held in Russia and Belarus have been moved in line with recommendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the countries' roles in the attack on Ukraine.

There are serious doubts over Russia being allowed to stage competitions, which intensified when its President Vladimir Putin held a large pro-war rally at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Friday (March 18).

The Ministry of Sports in the Sverdlovsk region is still pressing ahead with renovations of Palace of Sporting Games, one of the FISU Games' proposed venues.

"Yes, we continue the reconstruction, we are preparing the facility for the Universiade 2023," they told Russia's official state news agency TASS.

The event formerly known as the Universiade is due to be held under the FISU Games banner from this year's Summer edition in Chengdu.

Russia has previously staged the Summer edition of the multi-sport event in Moscow in 1973 and Kazan in 2013, while it also hosted the Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk in 2019.

A pro-war rally held at the Luzhniki Stadium has further increased doubts over Russia being able to host future sporting events ©Getty Images
A pro-war rally held at the Luzhniki Stadium has further increased doubts over Russia being able to host future sporting events ©Getty Images

FISU's President, Oleg Matytsin, who stepped aside for the duration of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions imposed on the nation in response to the cover-up of a state-sponsored doping programme, is the Russian Sports Minister.

Last month prior to Russia's invasion, FISU had expressed optimism about the progress on preparations in Yekaterinburg, with FISU Games summer deputy director Jing Zhao highlighting "a lot has been achieved since our last visit in September".

However, since then this year's SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit in the Russian city has been cancelled.

The Palace of Sporting Games had been intended to host matches at this year's International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Men's World Championship, but Russia has also been stripped of hosting rights following the widely condemned invasion of Ukraine.

The FIVB had previously said an exemption to anti-doping sanctions banning Russia from hosting events had been approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency on the grounds of it being "legally or practically impossible" to move the event.

The United Nations has reported that more than 3.4 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its attack on February 24, and at least 902 civilians have been killed, although it is feared that the true figure is far higher.