The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) has reduced the sanction imposed on volleyball player Wallace Leandro de Souza, a gold medalist at the Rio 2016 Games, from five years to 90 days for inciting violence against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. This measure, the result of an agreement between the athlete, the ethics council of the BOC, the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation (CBV), and the General Advocacy of the Union (AGU), allows the 35-year-old athlete to continue his career, as the previous sanction would have meant his forced retirement.
In addition, the ban on representing the Brazilian national team was reduced from five to one year. Wallace, a well-known supporter of former president Jair Bolsonaro, became embroiled in the controversy late last January when he posted on Instagram a story asking his followers if they would shoot President Lula da Silva.
Although he apologized and deleted the post, he was suspended by the BOC for 90 days as of February 3. However, the player participated in the final of the men’s Superliga with his team, Sada Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte, backed by a decision of the sports judicial system.
The BOC considered that both the athlete and the CBV disobeyed the suspension and stiffened the penalty in early May. This initial sanction put at risk the funding and participation of Brazil’s volleyball teams in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and other international competitions.
The agreement aims to avoid difficulties in the preparation of the Olympic cycle and obliges the local volleyball confederation to fund a program that promotes athletes’ ethics on social networks.
Meanwhile, the threat of the virus continues to wreak havoc in the coming days. The 11th stage of the cycling competition, to be held on Wednesday, will cover a distance of 219 km from Camaiore to Tortona, and a mass finish is expected unless a breakaway is successful, as the fourth-category pass, Passo della Castagnola, is 43 km from the finish.
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