Latvia will commence talks with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on relocating the planned ice hockey championship from Belarus to another country, said Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview on Monday, 17 August.
Kariņš explained that Latvia would like to host the 2021 world championship in Riga. However, considering the situation in Belarus, the prime minister sees no ways of hosting the championship together with Belarus.
“We will urge IIHF to pick a different country instead of Belarus. If the federation [IIHF] refuses and the situation in Belarus does not change, the government may decide to boycott the 2021 world ice hockey championship,” stresses Kariņš.
Previously the prime minister explained that in relation to the situation in Belarus he has ordered Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska, who is responsible for sports affairs and the organization of the aforementioned championship from the state side, to contact IIHF to reach a solution in this situation.
“Right now it is hard to imagine for us to organize the ice hockey championship together with Belarus after the recent events,” said the prime minister.
On Monday, 17 August, an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers was held to discuss the situation in Belarus. During discussions members of the government also touched on the topic of the 2021 world ice hockey championship, which is to be organized by Latvian and Belarusian ice hockey federations together.
IIHF has no plans to reschedule the 2021 ice hockey championship to another country. The federation also does not want to make any political statements.
According to provisional results, Aleksandr Lukashenko – the incumbent President of Belarus – received 80.08% of votes, whereas opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received 10.09% of votes. The opposition, however, believes presidential election results were forged.
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