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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), ruled out on Friday the possibility of stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.
In light of the ongoing doping and manipulation crusade against Russian sports, spearheaded by the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Russia was deprived this week of the right to host the 2017 International Biathlon and Skeleton World Championship. It was initially scheduled to be held at the Sochi Olympic facilities between February 13 and 26.
Asked whether it was possible that Russia would be stripped of the right to host the U18 ice hockey world championship, IIHF President Fasel said "No," adding that he had already some discussions on the issue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"They will go to Chelyabinsk with the U18," Fasel resumed. "Sport is here to bring people together and not to divide them. So I will do everything possible to use sport to bring people together."
The IIHF U18 World Championship has been held annually since 1999 for national teams of players of under the age of 18 and the 2018 event was scheduled to be held in the cities of Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, in Russia’s Urals.
"The same question was with Belarus and everybody wanted to boycott," noted Fasel, who has been at the helm of the IIHF since 1994. "We went to Belarus and we had a fantastic experience. We will stick to that."
The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted the IIHF World Championship in 2014 between May 9 and 25 with the 16 best teams from around the globe competing for the title of world champion. Team Russia won all games ramming all the way through to the final, where it defeated Finland 5-2 to win the championship.
The tournament in Belarus set a new attendance record in the history of the IIHF World Championships. A total of over 640,000 people attended the matches in Minsk surpassing the previous record of 552,097, set at the championship in the Czech Republic back in 2004.