RIGA - We will not let Latvia blackmail us in relation to ice-hockey championship in Belarus, said International Ice-Hockey Federation (IIHF) general secretary Horst Lichtner in an interview with German public radio Deutschlandfunk (DLF).
As reported, Latvia due to the recent political events in Belarus does not with to co-host the 2021 Hockey World Championship with this country. The games had to be held in both capitals - Riga and Minsk. Latvia wants talks with IIHF on moving the 2021 Hockey World Championship games in Belarus to some other country, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said earlier.
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.
Lichtner criticized the Latvian government for making such a political decision. He objects to politicians interfering with sports events and said that only security problems in Belarus might force the federation to change the decision, and a group of experts will assess and analyze the situation in Belarus.
"We will not go to a country where there is a chaos and revolution, but the games should not be cancelled in Belarus if there is a completely normal situation," he said.