The 2023 FISU World University Games are still scheduled to take place in Yekaterinburg, despite ongoing doubts over Russia being permitted to stage it ©Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has said preparations for the Yekaterinburg 2023 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games are continuing as planned, despite ongoing doubts over the country being permitted to stage the multi-sport event.

Matytsin was elected as FISU President in November 2015, but stood aside in March last year for the duration of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions on Russia, with FISU announcing he would "not act as FISU President, fulfil any of the roles, responsibilities or duties of the FISU President, sit on FISU's Boards or Committees, or otherwise act as a FISU representative".

He was appointed as Russia's Sports Minister in January 2020.

Swiss official Leonz Eder is serving as FISU Acting President until December 17 this year, when WADA's sanctions imposed in connection with the manipulation of data at the Moscow Laboratory are due to expire, having been halved from four to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Yekaterinburg is scheduled to host the FISU Games next year, but the vast majority of upcoming sports events have been moved from Russia and Belarus.

This follows recommendations from the International Olympic Committee in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

According to the United Nations, at least 2,729 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the military offensive, and more than 5.3 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine.

Russian and Belarusian competitors are banned from the Chengdu 2021 FISU Summer World University Games later this year, but FISU has thus far not stripped Yekaterinburg of next year's event, and the budget has not been reduced by organisers.

Russian state news agency TASS reported that Matytsin recognised that there was increasing pressure on FISU from several countries to move the 2023 FISU Games, but updated the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports on the progress being made on preparations.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin acknowledged the impact of economic sanctions on preparations for Yekaterinburg 2023, but said work is continuing
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin acknowledged the impact of economic sanctions on preparations for Yekaterinburg 2023, but said work is continuing "as planned" ©Getty Images

"Currently, measures are being taken to build, reconstruct and prepare 40 infrastructure facilities, including seven new sports facilities," the Minister was quoted by TASS.

"Work is underway to build five dormitories in the Universiade Village, which will be transferred to the Ural Federal University.

"After the competition, the updated infrastructure will become part of the Universiade legacy."

Matytsin acknowledged that economic sanctions implemented against Russia as part of the backlash against its war in Ukraine had affected preparations for the 2023 FISU Games, but insisted work is continuing as planned.

"At the same time, the sanctions imposed against our country have a negative impact on the preparation of the infrastructure for the Universiade," he commented.

"Having studied the situation, together with the Government of the Sverdlovsk region, we are taking measures to import substitution and search for alternative suppliers.

"The process of preparing for the Universiade is going on as planned.

"This issue, in our opinion, is not required."

The Yekaterinburg 2023 FISU Games are scheduled for August 8 to 19 next year, with 18 sports on the programme.

Russia has held the Summer and Winter edition of the FISU Games under the former Universiade title in the past decade in Kazan in 2013 and Krasnoyarsk in 2019, respectively.