IIHF Suspends Russia and Belarus from Tournaments

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The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced earlier today that Russia and Belarus will be suspended from all 2022 international tournaments.

Russia and Belarus will no longer be able to partake in any IIHF sanctioned tournaments for the upcoming year. This will include the upcoming World Championships in Finland which both nations were set to partake in, the rescheduled World Juniors, the U18 tournaments, and, only for Russia, both women’s tournaments.

Russia will lose its hosting duties for the 2023 World Juniors that were supposed to take place in Novosibirsk and Omsk. However, Russia still has the opportunity to host the World Championship in 2023 where it is supposed to play in St. Petersburg. If nothing is solved in the next few months with Russia, there is an expectation that the event will relocate as well.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif in a statement. We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program.”

The IIHF joins other sports organizations that have condemned Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. One of the biggest which came a few hours earlier was the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) which suspended the nation from international soccer matches.

Ukraine’s next international tournament will be played in Sofia, Bulgaria on April 4 in the Division III Group A of the Women’s World Championship.

Nothing has been said on how or if the spots both Russia and Belarus occupied before will be filled, but right now the IIHF has taken the first step to maneuver themselves in a geological crisis.

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