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19 January 2021, 13:24

IIHF's decision seen as precedent for using sport as instrument of discord

MINSK, 19 January (BelTA) - The organizing committee of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk in 2021 regrets the decision of the IIHF to move the tournament from Belarus, BelTA learned from the organizing committee.

“Sports events are designed to bring countries and people together and promote peace and harmony in the spirit of Olympic principles. This decision sets a precedent for using sport as an instrument of sowing discord and exerting pressure for political interests. Since its selection as the host of the 2021 IIHF World Championship Belarus has strictly fulfilled all contractual obligations to organize the tournament and has already done considerable work. In recent years, our country has established itself as a reliable partner of international federations and sports organizations in holding major international events. Belarus was a great host of the 2nd European Games which the country held in 2019 at the request of the European Olympic Committees. We continue to believe in the unifying power of sport. We also believe that the international sports community will be able to fight back the influence of political and financial forces, while the hockey family will become even stronger and will not look back on the political ambitions of people who have nothing to do with sport,” the organizing committee said.

On 18 January, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced that it had removed the 2021 IIHF World Championship co-hosting bid of Belarus and Latvia.

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.

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