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Ahead of the signing, the government reviewed the issue on hosting the championship in Riga in an emergency meeting. An action committee was set up officially and the signing of the agreement between the IIHF and the 2006 action committee was approved as well, said the government's spokesman Aivis Freidenfelds.
The prime minister will chair the committee, which will include representatives from the government, Riga City Council and the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation. The committee is authorized to sign all documents concerning the organization of the world championship in 2006.
According to the agreement, Latvia recognizes the rights of the IIHF to organize the championship, as well as the exclusive rights of commercial partner CWL to advertising, TV, commercial activities and Internet services within the event.
Latvia pledges to construct a new hockey arena no later than six months before the event, choose a site for the championship by January 2003, and hand in a report on the course of the project by April 2003. The project will be signed in April 2004.
Latvian Prime Minister Berzins said that the 2006 championship would be an event of national importance.
He pointed out that the new arena would be constructed with the help of private funding and its management would be like any other business project.
Fasel said that hockey fans could be expected to arrive from all over Europe, especially Scandinavia.