IIHF president defends Belarus` right to host ice hockey championship

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

As German newspaper «Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung» reports, 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.

According to «Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung», in their appeal German MPs of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) fraction cautioned René Fasel that Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka who is often called Europe’s last dictator might well exploit the World Championship in Minsk. They also provided reasonable details on Lukashenka’s authoritarian rule in Belarus.

In response to numerous appeals to remove the Championship from Minsk by reason of violations of human rights, Fasel reiterated nothing would change and Belarus would host the sports event in 2014. «We stand back from political discussions,» he stated in January, 2012.

The World Cup relocating was put on the agenda of the IIHF meeting in May, 2012, which will take place in Helsinki.

As it was reported before, in its resolution adopted on March 29, 2012 the European Parliament called on «the National Ice Hockey Federations of the EU Member States and all other democratic countries to urge the IIHF, including at its next Congress in May in Helsinki, Finland, to re-discuss its earlier decision envisaging the possibility of relocating the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship from Belarus to another host country until all political prisoners, recognised by international human rights organisations as ‘prisoners of conscious’, are released».



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