Even though it took way too long and caused way too much drama – The IIHF announced today that the 2021 World Championships will be moved from Minsk, Belarus.
”Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control, the IIHF Council confirmed today that the decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus is unavoidable. The decision was reached by Council following the conclusion of an extensive due diligence process.” the IIHF said in a statement.
IIHF used one of their bylaws in order to revoke the Belorussian side’s rights of hosting the tournament. IIHF Bylaw 9 allows the IIHF council to withdraw the championship from a hosting nation if there is a concern that the well being or the safe freedom of movement of all parties involved is in doubt.
The following is a statement from the President of IIHF:
“It is a very regrettable thing to have to remove the Minsk/Riga co-hosting bid,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “During this process, we had tried to promote that the World Championship could be used as a tool for reconciliation to help calm the socio-political issues happening in Belarus and find a positive way forward.”
“And while the Council feels that the World Championship should not be used for political promotion by any side, it has acknowledged that hosting this event in Minsk would not be appropriate when there are bigger issues to deal with and the safety and security of teams, spectators, and officials to prioritize.”
As a joint bid by this now causes to question what happens with Latvia now. IIHF Council must and will consider the status of Riga as co-host, and there is a possibility that the baltic nation will host the tournament on its own.
As expressed by Latvian Parliaments foreign commission today: ”Latvia is denying any sort of involvement in co-hosting the IIHF World Championships together with Belarus, due to circumstances and events currently happening in the country. The violent repressions there do not allow to host a tournament of this magnitude.”
Latvia has once again expressed that they would be able and are interested to host the event on their own, although financial involvement will have to be made by the IIHF in this scenario.
The IIHF council will carry on the discussion and a decision in regards to the 2021 tournament will be made at a later date and updates will be provided in due course.