Russia, Belarus banned by IIHF; 2023 World Juniors pulled from Russia


The International Ice Hockey Federation banned Russia and Belarus from international tournaments until further notice.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommended that international sports federations ban Russia and Belarus to protect the integrity of events. The IIHF met on Monday and became the third global sporting body to implement a ban, joining FIFA and World Curling.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a press release. “We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program.”

The 2022 IIHF Continental Cup, 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championships, 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship and 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship are among the upcoming events that could be impacted by the ban. Russia and Belarus were both among the 16 teams to qualify for the men’s worlds, which will be played from May 13-29 in Finland. Belarus club team HK Gomel will be barred from playing in the Continental Cup, which is set to begin on Friday, under the mandate.

Along with the ban, the IIHF also stripped Russia of its hosting rights for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. The IIHF announced it would begin discussions in the coming months to land a new host nation.

“The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the health and well-being of all participating players, officials, and fans,” the IIHF said in its press release. “The IIHF Council also expressed deep concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia. The IIHF Council also took into account the Russian government’s breach of the Olympic Truce, which was adopted in December 2021 as a UN resolution by United Nations General Assembly. The breach of the Olympic Truce led to a condemnation by the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board last week.”

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