Belarus loses ice hockey championships over “safety and security” fears – POLITICO

Belarus was deprived of hosting the men’s ice hockey world championship this summer due to “safety and security” concerns in the country.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has used the country’s security forces to violently oppress protesters since his disputed election victory in August last year.

The decision to move the tournament out of Belarus was welcomed by opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. “This is a very wise step – to support human rights and fair sport, not to cooperate with the regime in Belarus,” she said. tweeted.

Longtime World Championship sponsor Skoda said on Saturday it cancel your sponsorship contract if the ice hockey championship was held in Minsk. Liqui Moly, a German motor oil maker, followed suit on Sunday, and the IIHF – the world’s governing body in ice hockey – gave in to the pressure on Monday.

“Although the Council considers that the world championship should not be used by any party for political promotion purposes, it recognized that the organization of this event in Minsk would not be appropriate when there are bigger issues. to treat and the safety of teams, spectators, and officials to prioritize, ”said René Fasel, President of the IIHF, in a declaration.

The ice hockey championship was to be held in Minsk and Riga from May 21. the governing body will decide whether to proceed with the Latvian capital as a single host.

The influence of sponsors on hosting controversial sporting events is at the forefront, as Uyghur activists – accusing China of human rights abuses – are pressuring Olympic partners such as Airbnb to act on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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