MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. The Council of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced on Monday a decision to strip the Belarusian capital of Minsk of the right to host matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship and to relocate them to another venue.
"Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control, the IIHF Council confirmed today that the decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus is unavoidable," the IIHF said in a statement.
"The decision was reached by [IIHF] Council following the conclusion of an extensive due diligence process," the statement reads.
Matches of the 2021 IIHF World Championship in the Latvian capital of Riga and the Belarusian capital of Minsk were scheduled to be played between May 21 and June 6, 2021. However, various European public organizations called on the IIHF recently to relocate the championship’s matches from Minsk due to a tense political situation in Belarus.
Last Friday, IIHF President Rene Fasel told TASS that Latvia offered to host all matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey Championship at two stadiums in Riga. Fasel also announced last week that a proposal to host the championship’s matches came from Denmark and talks were underway with Slovakia as well.