MINSK, 11 November (BelTA) - Belarus is ready to hold the 2021 IIHF World Championship, calls for a boycott are baseless, Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said as he presided over a meeting of the organizing committee for the event, BelTA has learned.
"We are ready to hold the championship and to ensure the safety of fans and athletes. Therefore, calls for a boycott, which we hear from time to time, have no grounds," Roman Golovchenko said.
Nevertheless, according to him, Belarus should think over an algorithm of actions in case the format of the championship is changed, including without the co-host. "The Sport and Tourism Ministry declares its readiness for such a format. It is obvious that this will require additional funding and mobilization of additional resources," the head of government said.
He called the epidemiological situation an important aspect that should be taken into account. "Probably, it will make adjustments to the format of the championship over it. Therefore, we need to be ready for this and think over the option of holding the event with a smaller number of spectators," Roman Golovchenko added.
The prime minister asked to provide information on the interaction with the International Ice Hockey Federation. "I know that the dialogue is constructive, as with all other federations. The International Ice Hockey Federation has repeatedly stated that there is no redeployment or cancellation of the championship for political reasons," Roman Golovchenko said. A report on the work of the group of experts, which has been set up by the International Ice Hockey Federation will be released soon.
Roman Golovchenko noted that there is not much time left before the IIHF World Championship. In fact, we are in the home stretch. "In general, the preparations are on schedule. I would like to note that attempts to discredit Belarus as the organizer of the event continue. Today certain forces are trying to use the championship as a tool of blackmail and pressure," the prime minister said.