The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has deprived Minsk, Belarus, of the right to co-organize this year’s Senior World Championships.
This is due to concerns about the safety of the participants, given the current political and epidemiological situation in the country. Minsk was to organize the championship together with Riga, the IIHF Council should decide in the near future on a new venue for the World Cup.
The President of the Russian Hockey Federation (FHR) and a member of the IIHF Council Vladislav Tretiak told TASS that the IIHF was considering three options for organizing the championship.
The first is that it will take place entirely in Latvia, the second that it will be co-organized by Latvia and Denmark, and the third that the Baltic country will organize it together with Slovakia. The Slovak Ice Hockey Association (SZĽH) has not yet commented on this possibility.
“We note the decision of the IIHF in the current situation to withdraw the organization of the 2021 World Championships from Belarus.
We believe that the IIHF is doing everything to ensure that the world championship takes place this year and that a full-fledged alternative solution will be found in the foreseeable future, “SZĽH President Miroslav Šatan told hockeyslovakia.sk.
The problem with the organization of the championship is the finances, as the tournament will most likely take place without spectators for the eventual, whereby the host countries would lose the main source of income from the organization.
The IIHF Board was originally scheduled to meet on January 25, but given the current situation, it discussed the World Cup at Monday’s online video conference.
“It is very unfortunate that we need to cancel the joint candidacy of Minsk and Riga. During this process, we have tried to push for the World Cup to be used as a tool for reconciliation and to help calm socio-political problems in Belarus and find a positive way forward.
Although the Council considers that the World Cup should not be used for political promotion by any party, it recognizes that organizing this event in Minsk would not be appropriate when more important issues need to be addressed and the safety of teams, spectators and officials is given priority, “he said. Federation IIHF President Rene Fasel.
Together with colleagues, he met with Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus last week and with representatives of the local hockey association and the organizing committee of the World Cup and discussed the next steps. In the end, they decided to take away the World Cup from the country.
“The IIHF has a duty to take care of all participants in the World Cup. Point 9 of the IIHF Statute allows the Council to relinquish the country’s right to organize a championship if there are grounds for concern or doubt as to ensuring the safe freedom of movement of players, referees, fans and journalists,
Following Monday’s decision, the IIHF Council will also consider Latvia’s position as co-organizer of the World Cup and will evaluate the possibility of moving the entire championship to one venue, which would greatly facilitate the organization in terms of health and safety issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protests against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko have been going on in Belarus for several months. The impetus was the August presidential election, which observers called rigged.
In this context, there was pressure on the IIHF to move the championship to another country. In particular, government officials and hockey officials from Latvia and Finland called for Belarus to take over the championship.
Expressing their concern that Lukashenko would make the championship an instrument of government propaganda, they believed that holding a World Cup would legitimize the repressive regime.
The sponsors of the Škoda and Nivea World Championships have also announced in recent days that they will withdraw from the support of the World Championships if Belarus co-organizes them.
The possibility that the World Cups would take place only in Latvia was also considered. However, there is currently no second suitable arena in Riga to play in.
Latvia would reportedly need another $ 5 million to host the entire tournament, which it does not have.
According to Fasel, the federation was considering other alternatives. She received an official offer from Denmark, which wanted to surprise her as the organizer or co-organizer of the World Cup 2021. According to the head of the IIHF, she also discussed with the Slovak side.
The Slovak representatives were to present themselves at the tournament in the A-group together with Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark, Belarus and the United Kingdom.
Canada, Finland, the USA, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan were in the “top”. Last year’s World Championships in Switzerland could not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The goal of the daily Pravda and its internet version is to bring you up-to-date news every day. In order to be able to work for you constantly and even better, we also need your support. Thank you for any financial contribution.
Source: Pravda.sk – Šport – Futbal – Hokej by hokej.pravda.sk.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Pravda.sk – Šport – Futbal – Hokej by hokej.pravda.sk. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!