Has the Final Decision Allowed Russians and Belarusians to Return to Hockey World Cup?

Hockey players of Russia (ROC) Zdroj: SITA/AP/Matt Slocum

PRAGUE – The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) today extended the ban on the starts of national teams and club representatives of Russia and Belarus at its events for the upcoming 2023/24 season as well.

Both countries will thus miss the World Championships next May, which will be held in Prague and Ostrava. The IIHF announced the decision on its official website.

The international federation excluded Russia and Belarus from its competitions last February after the start of the war conflict in Ukraine. The main reason was concern for the safety of all participants. Russia also missed out on hosting the junior championship, which was supposed to be held at the turn of the year in Novosibirsk and Omsk. Both countries will thus miss at least three senior championships.

It’s not safe

Security risks are also the main reason for today’s decision of the IIHF Council. “Based on a detailed risk assessment by a reputable company that specializes in risk assessment due to various global challenges, the Council has decided that it is not yet safe to re-introduce the Russian and Belarusian teams back into IIHF competition. And it will not be safe for the upcoming 2023 season either / 24,” representatives of the federation said on the website.

The head of the federation, Luc Tardif

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Source: Profimedia

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IIHF President Luc Tardif announced in a video post that the federation proceeded today in the same way as in the case of moving the senior WC in 2021 from Minsk to Riga. “We received a recommendation that it is too soon to re-integrate both countries. It would be risky especially in terms of the safety of players, members of the implementation teams, organizers and fans.” said Tardif, immediately repeating the word safety several times.

The issue of the re-engagement of hockey players from both countries in its competitions will be assessed by the IIHF again in a year, when it will also deal with the involvement of Russia and especially Belarus in the qualification for the 2026 Olympic Games. Last September, the federation already decided that Russia and Belarus would return to the World Cup as equals among the elite.

  • Author: © List
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  • Source: CTK

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