Oleg Matytsin claims the postponement of Yekaterinburg 2023 was to preserve the integrity of university sport ©Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister and former International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin has claimed that the postponement of the 2023 Summer World University Games was to preserve the integrity of university sport.

The event was due to take place in Yekaterinburg from August 8 to 19 next year but the FISU Executive Committee decided to push it back in response to the war in Ukraine, although new dates have not been set.

"The International University Sports Federation has notified the Organising Committee of the postponement of the 2023 World University Summer Games in Yekaterinburg indefinitely," said Matytsin, as reported by Russia's official state news agency TASS.

"FISU emphasised that this decision was primarily driven by the desire to preserve the integrity of the international university sports movement and ensure an equal opportunity to participate in the Games for all countries.

"I would like to note that the construction of infrastructure for the student Games will be completed without fail.

"The seven new sports facilities and five hostels of the Universiade Village currently under construction will be transferred to the Ural Federal University.

"I am sure that the new and reconstructed Universiade facilities in Yekaterinburg will be in demand among the residents of the region and the whole countries and will become one of the most significant all-Russian centres for the development of student sports."

Matytsin has vacated his position as FISU President until December 17 because of sanctions imposed on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency over the cover-up of a state-sponsored doping programme.

Double Olympic ice hockey gold medallist and former Russian Sports Minister Vyacheslav Fetisov is not concerned about the decision and feels the country will still benefit from the Games.

Vyacheslav Fetisov feels Russia will still benefit from the Summer World University Games despite its postponement ©Getty Images
Vyacheslav Fetisov feels Russia will still benefit from the Summer World University Games despite its postponement ©Getty Images

"Okay, sports facilities will be used, Russian competitions will be held," Fetisov said, as reported by TASS.

"What are the problems?"

"On the contrary, it is necessary to mobilise completely and make the maximum benefit from everything."

Although there have been some concerns about whether the Games would be moved away from Russia, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports Dmitry Svishchev is confident that no other nation will be able to pull off the event.

"I doubt that any country is able to hold the Universiade at the same level," said Svishchev, as reported by TASS.

"I know that Yekaterinburg was actively preparing for this event, certain funds were invested, so it will be necessary to demand compensation in the event of the final transfer of the Universiade from Yekaterinburg.

"As for the facilities, then competitions will be held at them, all of them will be involved - such a decision has already been made.

"In the new conditions, we just need updated facilities in order to hold competitions within the country, while we will not rule out the option that FISU will come to their senses."

Yekaterinburg was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 edition in July 2019 following a unanimous vote, with all 23 members voting in favour.

At the time, Alexander Chernov, director general of the Yekaterinburg 2023 bid, announced that the total budget was expected to be €1.1 billion (£9.8 million/$10.2 million).