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ZURICH – The International Ice Hockey Federation on Wednesday excluded the teams of Russia and Belarus from all of its world championships next season, including the women’s event in the United States.
The IIHF cited security concerns for players, competitors’ staff and fans—due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—to extend the exclusion it would extend beyond two years when the 2023-24 season concludes.
“It’s too early,” Luc Tardif, president of the International Engineering Federation, said of allowing Russia back. “Too many risks.”
The women’s world championship is scheduled to be held in the United States in March or April next year, and the men’s championship is scheduled to be held in the Czech Republic in May 2023.
Ice hockey is a favorite sport played by both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
The IIHF followed directions given by the International Olympic Committee within days of Russia starting the war in February 2022 to remove Russian teams from international competitions and find new hosts for the events the country was scheduled to host.
However, the IOC is now pushing Olympic sports’ governing bodies to find ways to include Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral players in the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Games.
The IOC executive board is scheduled to discuss the Russian issue at a meeting on Tuesday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Tardif, speaking after a decision by the governing council he chairs, said FIFA must decide next year whether Russia and Belarus can participate in the 2026 Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Games.
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