Latvia may host 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship after Belarus stripped of the tournament

Latvia is ready to assess a possibility to host the entire 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) in a Twitter post.

The Baltic Times reports the minister as saying that Latvia welcomes the decision of the Council of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus, underscoring this is the right signal that sports will not be used for the benefit of the authoritarian regimes.

Rinkevics said that Latvia will honour its commitment and is ready to evaluate hosting the entire championship.

As reported on Monday, the Council of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk, Belarus.

The 2021 championship had to be organised by Minsk and Riga, but the Latvian government indicated that it does not want to co-host the tournament with Belarus, as the regime of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been conducting a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in the country.

Now, the IIHF Council must consider the status of Latvia as a co-host, and will also evaluate the possibility of moving to a single-venue format to facilitate COVID-19 safety regulations and team travel.

The bid of Riga/Minsk in a vote in May 2017 won Finnish cities Helsinki and Tampere.

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