Belarus will no longer host the men’s ice hockey world championship in May and June “for safety reasons” outside the country. The association announced the inspection of the IIHF on Monday

“We tried to promote that the World Cup can be used as an instrument of reconciliation in order to calm down the socio-political problems in Belarus and to find a positive way forward,” said IIHF President René Fasel in a press release Although the Council believes that neither side should use the World Cup for political promotion, it has recognized that hosting this event in Minsk would not be appropriate if there are major problems and the safety of teams to be resolved Prioritize spectators and officials ”

The decision was made after discussions about whether it is feasible for Belarus to organize worlds together with Latvia, “in view of the growing security concerns associated with both the increasing political unrest and COVID-19,” said the association

An IIHF council will decide whether Latvia can remain as co-host. It is possible that the tournament will be moved to a single location

The Danish city of Herning, where part of the 2018 championship was held, is a possible replacement for Minsk, Fasel said before the decision to move from Belarus, and there were initial talks with the host country Slovakia in 2019, Latvia also be a host alone, he added

German motor oil maker Liqui Moly said on Sunday it would cancel its sponsorship deal if the championship remains in Belarus, a day after automaker Skoda promised to do the same after sponsoring the event for 28 years

The Belarusian capital Minsk and the Latvian capital Riga were co-hosts in 2017 for the championship from 21 May to 6 June selected Criticism of Belarus’ participation has increased since a controversial presidential election last year was followed by mass arrests in largely peaceful demonstrations

Fasel met long-time Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last Monday in Minsk and said he wanted to use the tournament to build bridges between Lukashenko and the opposition, but opposition groups criticized Fasel after hugging Lukashenko, Fasel said the gesture does not mean that the IIHF takes sides in Belarusian politics

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Source: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2021/01/18/iihf-belarus-ice-hockey-world-championship/