The IIHF is expected to move games at the 2021 world championships from Minsk, Belarus — which is co-hosting with Riga, Latvia — to Moscow, Russia a day after a report on the tournament triggered “serious discussions” over its status, according to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News.
Kennedy reports IIHF president Rene Fasel is heading to Russia to meet with Vladislav Tretiak, president of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, on the matter. Co-host Latvia will reportedly keep its games.
The independent report, which was initiated by the IIHF in September, cited credible safety concerns for tournament participants and fans under the current environment and expressed skepticism over the reporting of novel coronavirus numbers and caseloads in Belarus. It also criticized the measures being taken to address the pandemic.
“These are very real and very serious considerations, as this tournament is the most important asset of the IIHF and supports so much of what we do,” said Fasel. “If you take a normal season situation it wouldn’t be realistic right now that Belarus and Latvia could guarantee their capability to conduct world championship tournament operations.”
The tournament is slated to take place from May 21 to June 6 next year.