Belarus has been stripped of the best to carry the World Ice-Hockey Championship this yr, over “safety and security issues”, the International Ice-Hockey Federation (IIHF) mentioned on Monday.
“Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control, the IIHF Council confirmed today that the decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus is unavoidable,” reads an IIHF announcement.
Citing each the “rising political unrest” and the Coronavirus pandemic, IIHF mentioned its Council has decided its is “currently impossible to ensure the welfare of teams, spectators and officials while holding a World Championship in Belarus.”
Commenting on the choice, Rene Fasel, IIHF President mentioned it’s” a really regrettable factor” that the Minsk/Riga co-hosting bid can be eliminated, stressing that all through the method, the federation has been making an attempt to advertise that the World Championship may very well be used as a software for reconciliation to assist calm the socio-political points taking place within the Belarus and discover a optimistic method ahead.”
“And while the Council feels that the World Championship should not be used for political promotion by any side, it has acknowledged that hosting this event in Minsk would not be appropriate when there are bigger issues to deal with and the safety and security of teams, spectators, and officials to prioritize,” Fasel’s assertion provides.
Due to security and safety points, the IIHF Council will move the 2021 #IIHFWorlds from Minsk. Tournament internet hosting choices to be evaluated. https://t.co/IcCtfOxZdc
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 18, 2021
Reacting to the announcement, Belarus’ opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya tweeted that the choice was a “common victory”.
“This is a victory for every Belarusian who knows that hockey is a game and Belarusians are not planning to play with criminals,” Tikhanovskaya mentioned, including that “This is our common victory.”