The International Ice Hockey League has taken Belarus from the organisation of the World Cup for A countries. The IIHF believes that due to the coronacrisis and political unrest, it is too unsafe in Belarus.
There have been protests in Belarus for months against the outcome of last August‘s presidential elections.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko claims victory and has the protests struck down with a hard hand. The opposition sees civil rights activist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the winner of the elections.
Sponsor threatens to withdraw
Over the last few weeks, pressure on the IIHF to move the World Cup has increased more and more.
Among others 44 Members of the European Parliament, the IIHF recently called for Belarus to deprive the organisation of the World Cup.
And last week, car company Skoda announced to withdraw as main sponsor if the tournament remained in Belarus.
The IOC already announced last month that Lukashenko, who is also chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus, is not welcome at the Tokyo Games.
The Ice Hockey World Cup was originally to be held in Latvia and Belarus. Within a week, the ice hockey federation decides where the World Cup is now held. The Executive Board will meet on 25 and 26 January to see if the World Cup will only be held in the capital of Latvia, Riga, or whether there will be partial migratory to Denmark or Slovakia, for example.
In March last year, President Lukashenko showed his face on the ice hockey rink. He said he didn’t believe the coronavirus is as harmful as it is said. “Sports is the best medicine,” says Lukashenko.