x
x
x
x

Tue, January 19, 2021

Belarusian capital Minsk removed as co-host of men’s Ice Hockey World Championships due to safety and security issues

Belarusian capital Minsk removed as co-host of men’s Ice Hockey World Championships due to safety and security issues

The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced that Belarus capital Minsk has been removed as co-host of the Men's World Championships, citing safety and security issues.

The championship was awarded to Riga and Minsk as part of a joint bid and due to take place between 21 May and 6 June but the re-election of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has led to protests in the country with many calling for the championship to be moved out of the country.

The Belarusian government has limited freedom of speech and subsequently punished any who spoke out against the regime which has been widely condemned by the European Union resulting in sanctions on the country and Lukashenko himself being banned by the IOC from attending the Tokyo Olympics.  IIHF President Rene Fasel was recently criticised when he shook hands with and hugged Lukashenko during a meeting where the Belarusian reassured that the championship could safely be hosted in the country. 

The IIHF has now announced that after consulting all stake holders and the Belarusian government that “the decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus is unavoidable.” The IIHF said that this decision was taken due to “reason for concern that the well-being or the safe freedom of movement of the players, officials, traveling spectators and media is in doubt.” And “it is currently impossible to ensure the welfare of teams, spectators and officials while holding a World Championship in Belarus.”

The political unrest is one cause for concern but Lukashenko’s approach to Covid-19 is another as he has worried a number of nations with his relaxed view on the pandemic, reportedly saying drinking vodka and attending saunas would keep people safe throughout the pandemic. A number of sponsors recently threatened to withdraw if the tournament was not removed from Belarus so has likely played a significant role in the decision now taken by the IIHF.

Latvia has offered to host the event on its own with countries such as Slovakia and Czech Republic offering to co/host with Riga but the IIHF said “With Minsk/Riga 2021 being a joint bid, the IIHF Council must consider the status of Latvia as a co-host, and will also evaluate the possibility of moving to a single-venue format to facilitate COVID-19 safety regulations and team travel.”

You can read the IIHF statement here.

Share

Recent News Articles

Mon, September 26, 2022

Boxing’s Olympic future in doubt after IBA backs Russian president Umar Kremlev

Boxing’s inclusion at future Olympics has been plunged into further doubt after the International Boxing Association (IBA) backed Russian president Umar Kremlev by voting against allowing a leadership challenge against him. 

Read More

Fri, September 23, 2022

WADA Executive Committee approves 2023 Prohibited List

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee has approved the 2023 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods which will come into force on 1st January 2023.

Read More

Wed, September 21, 2022

University of Toledo receives Title IX complaints over failures to address complaints against women’s soccer coach

The University of Toledo has received multiple Title IX complaints related to their failure to address complaints of sexual assault and emotional abuse that were made against women’s soccer coach Brad Evans. 

Read More