— Published 14 January 2021

Belarus remains the best option

René Fasel makes no secret of this: Belarus remains the best option for co-organising with Latvia the next edition of the Men’s Ice Hockey World Cup, scheduled for May 21st to June 6th, 2021. The president of the international body of the discipline (IIHF) recognised him after a trip to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, where he notably met Alexander Lukashenko (photo above), the head of state. René Fasel traveled to Belarus this week to check on the country’s ability to safely host part of the world tournament, despite the political turmoil that has shaken the country since the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko. Clearly, the Russian leader’s visit turned out to be positive. But René Fasel explained it on the IIHF website: the Belarusian authorities will have to meet certain requirements to keep the co-organisation of the 2021 World Cup. “Among these is the promise to find peaceful solutions to improve the socio-political situation in the country, and to allow all Belarusian athletes to pursue their sports careers normally”, explains René Fasel. Most importantly, the Belarusian government has agreed to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with the opposition so that the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship is no longer at the centre of political concerns and sports is used as a means of bringing people together. Still according to the Swiss leader, the IIHF is not yet studying plan B, but Denmark and Slovakia have come forward to resume if necessary the meetings originally scheduled in Minsk.