IIHF dithers over Latvia-Belarus world championships decision

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said November 18 it had examined a detailed report into whether the planned IIHF World Championships due to be co-hosted by Latvia and Belarus could go ahead... but still needs more time to make a decision about it.

A news item on the IIHF website quotes the organiation's president René Fasel continuing to sit on the fence despite the ongoing brutal crackdown on civil society in Belarus which has led to Latvian objections that co-hosting with a dictator engaged in such activities is not a viable option.

“The reports we received from this expert group analysis triggered serious discussions within the IIHF Council,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “There are issues occurring within Belarus that we need to take seriously, because there is a significant risk that the current challenges in Minsk, the government position of the Latvian co-host, and the COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact the 2021 World Championship in Minsk and Riga.” 

“Whatever we decide to do, we will take our time to make a rational decision based on the best research and information we have,” said Fasel, signalling that the IIHF would continue to tread water on the subject.

“This report was a great start for us and initiated very constructive discussion among the Council members,” he said. 

There are just 182 days until the first game of the tournament is scheduled to take place.

The official mascot of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is Spiky the Hedgehog, an animal famous for curling itself into a ball until danger has passed.

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