Belarusian President preparing for worst?

Aliaksandr Lukashenka demanded the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship in Minsk should be insured against losses that may be caused by its conceivable removal from Belarus.

It is to be recalled that the European Parliament has recently adopted a resolution urging the Ice Hockey Federation to reconsider holding the World Cup in our country next year, citing torture of political prisoners as one of the reasons.

Under the presidential edict, the World Championship managing board in Minsk is to buy an insurance policy from a Belarusian insurance company. Minsk city government is ordered to take measures to avoid improvement in hotel and food prices during the event.

Moreover, aiming at providing effective communication with foreign guests Minsk city police department announced its intention to send some 500 police officers to learn the English language, which seems to be a really productive move taking into account that the overwhelming majority of Belarusian policemen can’t boast of fluent English.

In May, 2013 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.

Human rights groups repeatedly 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”.

In his turn, René Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, thrown cold water on German MPs’ appeal to relocate the 2012 World Ice Hockey Championship from Belarus.

As German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, in his reply Mr Fasel said that “the discrimination of IIHF members, hockey clubs and people on political, racial or religious grounds is prohibited”. The president mentioned “fundamental principles” of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and said that ice hockey is a politics-free sport.


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