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IIHF chief Fasel: Impossible to deprive Russia of ice hockey world championships in 2023

WADA's relevant committee recommended barring Russia from international competitions for a four-year period and depriving it of the right to host international sports events during this period
President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel EPA/PETER SCHNEIDER
President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel
© EPA/PETER SCHNEIDER

MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS, Rustam Sharafutdinov/. It will be impossible to relocate ice hockey world championships from Russia in 2023, Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), told TASS on Tuesday.

The WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) advised the world anti-doping body’s Executive Committee on November 23 to strip RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) of its compliance status and on Monday, the CRC came up with an extended list of recommended sanctions against Russian sports.

The CRC recommended barring Russia from international competitions, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for a four-year period. The Committee also issued a recommendation to deprive Russia of the right to host international sports events during this period. The WADA Executive Committee will pass a final decision on Russia at its meeting on December 9 in Paris.

"The first thing is that we have to wait for the decision on December 9 and this is very important because we don’t know what they will decide. They can apply the proposal made by this group [CRC] or they can change it."

Russia was selected as the venue for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship and the tournament will be co-hosted by the cities of Novosibirsk and Omsk. The country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg was selected to host the 2023 IIHF World Championship.

"These different championships were allocated when RUSADA was compliant," Fasel continued. "Therefore, I cannot see legally how we have to change that and I don’t think it will be changed."

"This is legally binding, we have contracts, we have the sponsors and I think it will be not possible to change that," the IIHF president went on. "They [Russia] have started already with the construction in Omsk, in Novosibirsk, in Saint Petersburg."

"This is a legally binding contract and speaking with our lawyers, they said they cannot imagine how all of this can be changed," Fasel added.

WADA announced on September 23 that it had initiated a probe into the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency with the Code of the world’s governing anti-doping body based on the inconsistencies discovered in the data of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on September 20, 2018 on condition that before December 31, 2018 WADA experts would be granted access to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.

Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).

The new international standard on the compliance status states that athletes coming from countries where national anti-doping agencies are non-compliant with the WADA Code may be barred from all international tournaments, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.