MINSK, 19 January (BelTA) - Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation (BIHF) Dmitry Baskov commented on the IIHF's decision to redeploy the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, BelTA learned from the BIHF press service.
“I would like to personally address the so-called Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, especially former professional athletes. Today you are celebrating the victory by taking away a truly special event from the Belarusian people. After that, you cannot be called Belarusians. You are traitors!” Dmitry Baskov said. “You took the world championship away from, first of all, thousands of children playing hockey. During these 17 days, that the championship lasts, our country could host not only world hockey stars, real idols of millions of boys around the world, who a new generation of hockey players look up to, but also tens of thousands of foreign fans and hundreds of media representatives who could see firsthand the incredible beauty of Belarus, the hospitality of our people and the high level of security in our country. We are sorry that the International Ice Hockey Federation and the world's major brands supporting ice hockey have fallen victims to the political games around Belarus,” Dmitry Baskov noted.
The country has worked hard: first to prepare a bid to host the world championship and then to organize the tournament, he said. “We still believe that the 2021 IIHF World Championship would have repeated or surpassed the success of the tournament Belarus hosted in 2014,” he said.
Moreover, the IIHF World Championship in Minsk would have given a boost not only to children's sport but also to the tourism industry and the city's infrastructure. “Of course, we will find these points of growth on our own, but ‘the political flexibility' of international institutions will go down in history, thus setting a precedent for future manipulations,” the head of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation said.
The IIHF announced that it had removed the 2021 IIHF World Championship co-hosting bid of Belarus and Latvia.
It was decided to move the 2021 IIHF World Championship from Minsk due to safety reasons, reads the statement of the IIHF. The IIHF Council will consider the status of Latvia as a co-host, and will also evaluate the possibility of moving to a single-venue format.
The 2021 IIHF World Championship was due to take place in Minsk and Riga on 21 May-6 June.
Belarus will receive compensation for being stripped off the right to host the championship. This is envisaged in the contract with the IIHF. The exact amount of compensation has not yet been determined.