President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel responded to a letter from famous Belarusian basketball player Elena Levchenko on holding of the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus.
In his letter, Rene Fasel says that the IIHF always tries to conduct the championship in the best possible conditions for athletes, including safety, spectators and the media. He also explained that during the championship, political factors are never taken into account: neither the influence of the country’s leadership nor its political opponents.
At the same time, the IIHF president said that he was ready to listen to Levchenko’s proposals on how to hold the World Championship, without referring to the political agenda. He noted that he also wants to have such a dialogue with the government of Belarus. The major task is not to abuse the championship for political pressure, but to use sport as a tool for discussing necessary changes in the government and the constitution.
Fasel wrote that he was open to suggestions, and also suggested removing political objectives from the discussion. According to Fasel, “the chances of achieving fundamental change in Belarus are very small” but he hopes that the dialogue with the government and the opposition will help find opportunities for holding an “apolitical the World Championship 2021” in Minsk and Riga.
Rene Fasel and General Secretary of the IIHF Horst Lichtner also reported that the independent IIHF Disciplinary Board has launched an inquiry into Dmitry Baskov. Also, the IIHF management invited Elena Levchenko to have a meeting with all parties concerned.
Later, Elena Levchenko, in response to the proposal of Rene Fasel, said that the Free Association of Athletes of Belarus (SOS BY) is not ready to discuss political issues. At the same time, she agreed to have a meeting with the IIHF leadership, which will also be attended by representatives of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, headed by Alexandra Gerasimenia.