Russia has just lost another major sporting event. This time it is a sport dear to President Putin. And, surprise, the competition is scheduled for next year. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced that it has withdrawn Russia’s bid to host the men’s world championship in 2023. It was due to take place from 5 to 21 May in St Petersburg. “In its concern for the safety and well-being of all players, officials, media and fans, the IIHF has decided to withdraw the organisation of the 2023 World Championship from Russia,” the body said in a statement. The IIHF had already followed the IOC’s recommendation not to organise international competitions in Russia and Belarus by withdrawing the hosting of the 2023 World Junior Championship from the first of the two countries, initially planned for Omsk and Novosibirsk, earlier this month. The latest IIHF decision has not gone down well in the Russian camp. “This is not fair, said the agency Ria Novosti to Valeri Kamensky, a member of the Russian Hockey Federation’s executive committee. There was hope the IIHF management would be more mature and start thinking in the interests of the sport. It’s really a shame that the new president of the organisation, Luc Tardif, starts by killing hockey. But we have no right to surrender and we don’t plan to do so.” The new host country for the men’s World Cup in 2023 will be announced at the next IIHF annual congress, to be held in Tampere (Finland) during the last week of the 2022 World Cup (13-29 May).
— Published 27 April 2022