Sport

Ice Hockey-IIHF suspends teams Russia, Belarus until further notice

People protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Toronto
A woman skates while holding a Ukrainian flag at an outdoor skating rink during an anti-war protest, after Russia launched a major military operation against Ukraine, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 27 2022. REUTERS / Chris Helgren

February 28, 2022

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on Monday suspended the Russian and Belarusian teams from their competitions until further notice and revoked the right to host the World Cup. Russia’s 2023 World Youth Championship.

The announcement comes as sports bodies around the globe ban Russian athletes from competing in international events amid Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine. Belarus was a key area for the invasion.

IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement: “We were shocked to see the images emanating from Ukraine.

“I have been in close contact with the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine and we hope to all Ukrainians that this conflict can be resolved peacefully and without further violence. “

Both FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian teams from participating in international football tournaments. On Monday, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee recommended that the federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing.

U.S. Hockey supports the IIHF’s decision.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country,” the IIHF said in a statement.

“The actions of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin and the support from Belarusian government officials cannot be blamed.”

The National Hockey League (NHL) also suspended ties with Russian business partners on Monday and condemned the invasion of Ukraine, days after Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals Russia captain and a of the league’s top scorers, calling for peace.

Just over a week ago, the men’s ice hockey team of the Russian Olympic Committee won a silver medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence decisions made during the war in Ukraine,” President Tardif said.

“However, we have a duty to care for all of our members and participants and must do all we can to ensure that we can operate our events in a safe environment. safe arena for all teams participating in the IIHF World Championship program.”

Russia has called its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is aimed not at occupying territory but aimed at destroying its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and capturing what it sees as threats. dangerous nationalist.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Beijing; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Pritha Sarkar)

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