Belarus stripped of role as 2021 Ice Hockey World Championships co-host due to 'political unrest, COVID-19'

Belarus had been due to co-host the event with Latvia in May and June, but ice hockey's governing body, the IIHF, said the decision to move the world champs from Minsk was 'unavoidable... due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF's control'.

Agence France-Presse January 18, 2021 23:14:02 IST
Belarus stripped of role as 2021 Ice Hockey World Championships co-host due to 'political unrest, COVID-19'

Representational image. AFP

Lausanne: Belarus was on Monday stripped of its role as co-host of the 2021 ice hockey world championships over "growing safety and security concerns related to both the rising political unrest and COVID-19 ".

Belarus had been due to co-host the event with Latvia in May and June, but ice hockey's governing body, the IIHF, said the decision to move the world champs from Minsk was "unavoidable... due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF's control".

The ex-Soviet state has been shaken by protests against strongman President Alexander Lukashenko's 26-year rule ever since an election last August in which he claimed victory.

Political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who ran in the election in place of her jailed husband, dubbed the decision to withdraw hosting rights a "victory".

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek, a fierce critic of Belarus hosting the worlds, tweeted: "Democracy 1, Lukashenko 0."

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