Moscow to Change Minsk as Worlds Host

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Picture by Sven Peter.The Hockey Information has discovered that the IIHF plans on shifting a part of the 2021 World Championship, leaving Belarus’ capital of Minsk in favor of Moscow. Latvia, the co-host of the occasion, won’t be affected. Belarus has been on the heart of controversy each globally and in worldwide hockey circles since an August election the place longtime chief Alexander Lukashenko declared victory, regardless of widespread criticisms that the vote was rigged in his favor. Since then, opposition chief (and presidential candidate) Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has gone into exile in Lithuania and large protests by the individuals of Belarus have been countered by police violence.All of this turned the backdrop for issues that the IIHF shouldn’t be rewarding such a political local weather with a prestigious hockey event – notably since Lukashenko is a big hockey fan. Till lately, the IIHF’s members had largely maintained that the group must be apolitical on the subject of hockey issues and in a latest interview, IIHF president Rene Fasel informed The Hockey Information that the worldwide group’s bylaws and statutes prohibit discrimination based mostly on political affiliation.The truth that Lukashenko has been referred to within the press as ‘Europe’s Final Dictator,’ sadly doesn’t change these IIHF bylaws, however it seems as if public outcry might have impacted how the group’s members really feel in regards to the upcoming event. Picketers made their emotions recognized in Zurich (dwelling of the IIHF) lately, whereas the European Parliament has additionally been placing stress on the group to maneuver the event out of Belarus.Whereas Russia is probably not a bastion of democracy, its residents usually are not in open revolt towards its authorities on a mass scale and the Russians have been a constant host of IIHF occasions all through the years. Moscow is definitely outfitted to deal with the co-hosting duties, having carried out so lately in each 2016 and 2007. Merely giving the entire event to Latvia was by no means within the playing cards, as Fasel famous that the nation does not have sufficient arenas that match the event’s standards for internet hosting by itself. Riga, the capital, is an apparent exception.Fasel is anticipated to fulfill with goaltending legend and Russian Federation president Vladislav Tretiak in Moscow early subsequent week so as to finalize the plans to maneuver the event out of Minsk.After all, one other main menace nonetheless looms over the event and that might be the Covid-19 pandemic that’s ravaging a lot of the world. Europe has been hit arduous by a second wave and whereas the World Championship doesn’t start till Might, Fasel was adamant that the well being and security of gamers, followers and workers are essential to the IIHF. The 2020 worlds in Switzerland, for instance, have been cancelled as a result of pandemic disaster.

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