MINSK, BELARUS – JANUARY 11, 2021: The President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Rene Fasel, speaks during a meeting with the president of Belarus at Independence Palace. Nikolai Petrov/BELTA/TASS Áåëîðóññèÿ. Ìèíñê. Ïðåçèäåíò Ìåæäóíàðîäíîé ôåäåðàöèè õîêêåÿ Ðåíå Ôàçåëü âî âðåìÿ âñòðå÷è ñ ïðåçèäåíòîì Áåëîðóññèè Àëåêñàíäðîì Ëóêàøåíêî âî Äâîðöå Íåçàâèñèìîñòè. Íèêîëàé Ïåòðîâ/ÁåëÒÀ/ÒÀÑÑ

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. The Council of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) will hold a session on January 26 or 27 to decide on the new venue for matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, IIHF President Rene Fasel told TASS on Thursday.

The IIHF Council 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. The IIHF said in a statement that it made this decision “Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control.”

Asked by a TASS correspondent when the IIHF would make a decision on the new venue, Fasel said: “Maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.”

“We will make a decision next week for sure,” he added.

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 to relocate the championship’s matches from Minsk due to a tense political situation in Belarus. The tournament’s sponsors also threatened to leave in case Belarus hosted the championship.

We’ve been a proud partner to the @IIHFHockey World Championship for 28 years. But we also respect & promote all human rights. Therefore, #SKODA will withdraw from sponsoring the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship if #Belarus is confirmed to be co-hosting the event. pic.twitter.com/fC3ZMbY2cG

Minsk was scheduled to host all matches of the teams from Group A, as well as two quarterfinals, both semifinals, the match for the 3rd place and the finals.

The IIHF Council is set to consider three options of holding the cancelled matches in Belarus – Latvia’s Riga might host all matches of the championship or co-host it either with Denmark’s Herning or Slovakia’s Bratislava.

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.

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