Top 10 Sporting Boycotts Of All Time

Oct 13, 2023

By: Deep Das Barman

Sports Boycotts That Grabbed The Headlines

Protests and boycotts are neither new nor uncommon in the world of sports. The city of Athens threatened to withdraw from the ancient Olympics in 332 BC over match-fixing allegations. Last month, Ukraine declared that it would boycott all sporting events invol...

1. 1980 Moscow Olympics

The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia, witnessed protests against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The United States-led protest, supported by Great Britain, eventually leading to only 80 out of the 147 nations competing at the 1980 Olympics. While the...

2. 1996 Indy 500

The walkout at the 1996 Indy 500 race was motivated by an internal issue rather than a political agenda. The 1996 Indy 500 race saw the top teams and drivers walk out of the race to protest a perceived lockout of CART teams by the governing body Indy Racing Le...

3. 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

After the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Soviet Union and its allies retaliated with their boycott of the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. Citing security concerns, barring Romania, the entire Eastern Bloc including Bulgaria, East Germany, Mongolia...

4. 1930 FIFA World Cup

Arguably one of the first sporting boycotts of modern times, the boycott of the first FIFA World Cup was rather bizarre. The nation of Uruguay, who were the Olympic champions, were chosen as the host nation after they offered to pay for the travel bills for th...

5. 1976 Montreal Olympics

The 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal was boycotted by 29 countries (mostly African) that were part of the African-led anti-Apartheid movement. The boycott was triggered by the refusal of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban New Zealand after its na...

6. 1973 Wimbledon

Some of the biggest names in men's tennis at the time boycotted the Wimbledon. Players who were members of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chose to support Yugoslavia's Nikki Pilic who was suspended by the International Lawn Tennis Fede...

7. 1982 South African Formula One Grand Prix

Former Formula One Drivers Champion Niki Lauda led a drivers' strike at the first race of the 1982 season in Kyalami, South Africa to protest a clause that required new "super licenses" for drivers to participate in the championship. Lauda belie...

8. 1970 South Africa Cricket Tour of England

South Africa's cricket team was due to visit England in 1970 but after strong protests against South Africa's Apartheid regime built up, the series was canceled at short notice by the English Cricket Council in what seemed to be a unilateral decision...

9. 1964 AFL All-Star Game

The boycott of the 1964 All-Star Game came just six months after US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the American Football League was set to play its All-Star Game at the Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, several black players w...

10. 2005 Formula One US Grand Prix

The Formula One Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2005 was abandoned by several teams due to a technical issue. Toyota’s driver Ralf Schumacher suffered a massive injury during Friday’s practice session which was reportedly caused by a rear-left tire failure. At t...