RIGA - Latvia will turn to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to agree on moving the 2021 Hockey World Championship games in Belarus to some other country, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said after the government's emergency meeting on Monday.
Latvia still wants to co-host the 2021 championship in Riga but, taking into consideration the current situation in Belarus, Minsk cannot be the other host of the championship, said Karins.
"We will urge the IIHF to consider some other country instead of Belarus. If the federation refuses, and if the situation in Belarus does not change, the government could consider Latvia's withdrawal from organizing the 2021 championship," said Karins.
Karins earlier explained to LETA that in connection with the recent events in Belarus, he has instructed Minister of Education and Science Ilga Suplinska (New Conservative Party), who is also responsible for sports matters and the organization of the tournament from the state side, to contact the International Ice Hockey Federation to reach a common best possible solution to this situation.
''It is difficult to imagine how we could possibly organize this tournament together with Belarus at the moment,'' the PM said.
LETA also reported, despite the brutal crackdown of protests in Belarus by the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, the IIHF is not yet planning on making any changes regarding the hosting of next year's Hockey World Championships, the press service of the IIHF told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti last week.
However, the IIHF said that they are closely following along the situation in Belarus.
''The IIHF is closely following along the situation in the countries where next year's World Championships will be held. No changes to the IIHF's 2020/2021 calendar will be made at this moment,'' the IIHF said.
Next year's Ice Hockey World Championships is scheduled to be co-hosted by Riga and the Belarus capital city of Minsk from May 21 to June 6.