Russian Ice Hockey Federation challenging IIHF’s sanctions following invasion of Ukraine

Team Russia gathers around goaltender Askarov Yaroslav prior to first period against team Sweden during IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action in Red Deer, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) says it is challenging punishment levied against it by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

In a statement, RIHF said it sent a protest letter to the IIHF’s disciplinary committee Thursday, challenging decisions made by the IIHF council late last month.

On Feb. 28 the IIHF banned Russia and Belarus from all competitions “until further notice” in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The IIHF also said it would move the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships out of Russia and award it to another host.

In its statement Friday, the RHIF called the punishments “discriminatory,” adding “Banning players from international competition based on nationality fuels intolerance in the media and could lead to divisions within the ice hockey community, which has always been known for its unity.”

The IIHF is far from the only sports organization to levy punishments against Russia since the war began. And Russia has unsuccessfully challenged some of those decisions.

Earlier Friday, FIFA said that the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) upheld a decision made by the leading international soccer body to ban Russia from international competition — including the upcoming World Cup. Russia had asked for a freeze on the ban so it could compete in qualifying matches scheduled for later this month, but CAS confirmed FIFA’s decision. However, Friday’s ruling is still subject to an appeal.

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