The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) approved all the venues of hockey matches in 2014. Having neglected numerous protests of human rights activists and some European politicians the IIHF refused point black to move the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus to a different country.
Even the latest scandal has had no impact on the decision. It is noteworthy that Yauhen Vorsin, the head of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation, ventured a non-PC opinion that there were black people among “inadequate people with white-red-white flags” who were paid for their activity on the arena. He also called the white-read-white flag “a dust cloth”.
Human rights groups have expressed disappointment at the refusal. According to their statement, the championship will give Aliaksandr Lukashenka a “great opportunity to shed a positive light on himself and his regime”. “Unfortunately, through its decision, the IIHF helps the Belarusian regime in using the Championships for political purposes, contrary to its often stated own ambition not to let major sports events be turned into political spectacles,” the campaigners say.
The statement has been signed by Germany’s Libereco and Human Rights in Belarus, Sweden’s Ostgruppen, the Czech Republic’s People in Need and Civic Belarus, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.