GENEVA (AP) – Below stress to remove Belarus as co-host of upcoming year’s men’s globe championship, the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation stated Tuesday a doing work excursion to Minsk was canceled for the reason that its top rated two officers have come to be contaminated with COVID-19.
The governing overall body mentioned president René Fasel and basic secretary Horst Lichtner both of those examined positive for the virus ahead of traveling to satisfy Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
The authoritarian chief of Belarus was suspended by the IOC on Monday from Olympic things to do, like the Tokyo Games, all through an investigation into athletes’ promises they have confronted reprisals for protesting in opposition to his disputed re-election.
The Belarus Olympic Committee, led by Lukashenko due to the fact the 1990s, appeared to have violated the Olympic Charter basic principle shielding towards discrimination in activity, IOC president Thomas Bach stated Monday at a news convention.
“We require to go to courtroom,” Lukashenko said Tuesday. “Let Bach and his group say what I’m responsible of in defending my state.”
Lukashenko’s opinions could refer to an enchantment at the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport.
The hockey planet championship, which Belarus beforehand hosted in 2014, has particular worth for Lukashenko. He has explained the sport as “an ideology” in Belarus, and has skated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The IIHF is among the Olympic stakeholders urged to regard the IOC determination, which included breaking off talks with Belarus about hosting gatherings and conferences.
In a assertion Tuesday, Fasel referred only to “safety issues that are impacting preparations” for the 2021 hockey worlds, which are set to open up in May in Belarus and Latvia.
The Latvian federal government referred to as on the Zurich-based IIHF in August to transfer games from Minsk following Lukashenko’s acquire in August more than opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She and her supporters say the vote was riddled with fraud.
Even so, Fasel mentioned the planned assembly with Lukashenko was to check out “what measures are staying taken to make sure that the event can be held securely and in cooperation with co-hosts Latvia.”
The 70-12 months-old Fasel, a prolonged-time IOC member, stated he and Lichtner “are the two in isolation at property for the next 10 days” and no rescheduled date to journey to Belarus was presented.
An on the web conference of IIHF countrywide associates on Friday was postponed.
The head of the Belarusian hockey federation, Dmitry Baskov, was also suspended by the IOC govt board.
Tsikhanouskaya welcomed the IOC suspensions, which also involved Viktor Lukashenko, the president’s son. Viktor Lukashenko operates the each day functions at the Belarus Olympic Committee.
“Our athletes are victims of repressions for the reason that they converse versus violence and state terror,” Tsikhanouskaya wrote on her Twitter account.
The Belarus Olympic committee said the IOC “may have been matter to political pressure” in acting from its leaders.
“The posture of the IOC is viewed as by us to be prejudicial,” the nationwide Olympic overall body mentioned, “based on a biased and superficial evaluation of the predicament in the Republic of Belarus.”
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