President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel once again commented on holding of the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus, TASS reports.
“We monitor the situation quite carefully and we will see. Our [IIHF] goal is to go to Belarus. We wish to go there for the fans, because they deserve to go there and not be under a political pressure,” Fasel stated. “We do not want to be a hostage of some political games.”
According to TASS, Rene Fasel could not travel at the moment due to his the earlier reported positive test for COVID-19.“Health and safety is our first priority…, for all of our fans, players, for all off our people going there,” he explained.
Commenting on the IOC decision to exclude the NOC of Belarus from all IOC events and activities, Fasel said: “I think Thomas Bach always made it clear that it will be the only decision of the IIHF and not the IOC regarding the organization of the World Championships.”
The IIHF president added: “We still have time to make our decision. We are planning to go to Belarus to meet the people there and have a look. […] As soon as we will be able to travel, we will be in touch with Belarus to prepare for a discussion with them.”
Recall that Belarus and Latvia were awarded the right to co-host the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in May 2017. Riga and Minsk are scheduled to co-host the championship from 7 to 23 May next year. Earlier, MEPs wrote a letter to the IIHF demanding to move the World Cup 2021 from Minsk. The Latvian government also called on the federation to move the tournament from Belarus. The head of the IOC said that the International Ice Hockey Federation initiated an official procedure against Dmitry Baskov.