The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) continues to work as a matter of priority with the version that this year’s World Cup will be hosted jointly by Minsk and Riga.
This was stated by IIHF President René Fasel after a visit to the Belarusian capital.
According to him, however, the federation is also considering other possible alternatives, received an official offer from Denmark, which could surprise you as the organizer or co-organizer of MS 2021, and is also discussing with the Slovak side.
“Our task is to gather as much information as possible and submit it to the IIHF Council, which will then make the best possible decision. This includes reassessing whether another country could be a co-organizer of the World Cup. We received an offer from Denmark and we are also conducting interviews with Slovakia, “Fasel told the official IIHF website.
However, the Slovak Ice Hockey Association claims that it knows nothing.
“We are not currently negotiating with the International Hockey Federation to take over the 2021 World Cup. At the moment, we are not even dealing with such a matter. Above all, we believe that the IIHF will solve the situation and the world championship will take place, “said SZĽH PR manager Peter Jánošík for Pravda.
Tense political situation
The championship is scheduled to take place from May 21 to June 6, 2021 in Riga and Minsk, but the problem is the tense political situation in Belarus.
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said last August that he could not imagine organizing the World Cup with Belarus for widespread political protests and allegations of human rights abuses in the country.
Several leaders of European countries have proposed to take away the championship from Belarus. Another problem is the situation associated with the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the cancellation of last year’s World Cup in Switzerland.
“The first option remains the joint championship in Minsk and Riga under the conditions agreed by the IIHF. That is a priority, we are not considering any other alternatives at the moment, “said Fasel, who met in person with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk.
The IIHF chief assured that Belarus was able to organize the tournament.
“Our view has not changed, but many other things have changed. First of all, the IIHF is very concerned about whether the organizer in Minsk will be able to ensure the safe conduct of the tournament in connection with the covid environment.
Furthermore, the IIHF continues to investigate the President of the Belarusian Hockey Association, but we are also concerned about the preparation of the tournament, which raises the concerns of teams, fans and government officials. These questions cannot be ignored. That is why we must have an open and constructive dialogue with the leaders of Belarus, starting with the government. “
Decision at the end of January
Fasel did not speak to the opposition in Belarus:
“We wanted to discuss first with our contractual partners, ie Belarus, the local organizing committee and the government. But we are also open to dialogue with the opposition. We will see if the IIHF has a chance to assist in improving the current situation in Belarus. “
However, the Latvian side insists that in these circumstances it does not want to co-organize the World Cup with Belarus.
The IIHF also considered for a while the possibility of moving the entire championship to Minsk, but currently does not allow such an alternative. The final decision on the venue of the World Cup should be made at the end of January at the IIHF Council.
Slovakia is to present itself at the tournament in the A-group together with Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark, Belarus and the United Kingdom. The “bulls” include Canada, Finland, the USA, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.
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