Nivea not to be among sponsors of Ice Hockey World Cup co-hosted by Belarus. Škoda next?

Photo: Michael Buholzer / Reuters / Forum

The Nivea brand will not sponsor the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship if Minsk turns to be one of its venues, the company’s representatives said on Instagram when asked by Belarusian user by_moor.

Meanwhile, a number of Belarusians staged protests against Škoda car manufacturer’s sponsoring the 2021 World Cup in Belarus; according to them, it would become a contribution to promoting Lukashenka’s regime. The company’s press secretary informed the protesters that he shared their opinion; the directorship is to make a decision on the subject in the coming week, Belarusian Alena Tsikhanovich said on Facebook.

Notably, IIHF head Rene Fasel states that during Monday’s meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka he made it clear that the Belarusian capital city would hardly be a co-host of the high-profile sports event if the political situation in the country did not change to the better.

As reported earlier, the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Zurich and Lausanne was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In May 2020, the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation announced its decision not to apply to the IIHF to move this year’s championship to 2021. Consequently, the 2021 championship was expected to take place in Minsk and Riga which had won the right to host the corresponding event in the year of 2021. However, due to the rigged elections and the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, a large international movement to deprive Belarus of this right is gaining pace.

Belarusians’ picket at Škoda office. Photo: Alena Tsikhanovich / Facebook

In November, Latvia banned Belarusian Ice Hockey Association Head Dzmitry Baskau and boxer Dzmitry Shakuta from entering its territory ‘for an unspecified period’ after a number of sportspeople and Internet users familiar with the situation identified Baskau and Shakuta (who belong to Alyksandr Lukashenka’s coterie) in photos and videos of the masked persons who brutally attacked protester Raman Bandarenka. On November 12, the Minsker slipped into a coma and died of severe head injuries.

In late December, a number of Western media reported that the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship would definitely not be held in Belarus due to the current political situation. Later, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, vice-president of the IIHF Kalervo Kummola, head of the Danish Hockey Union Ulrik Larsen, as well as members of the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag called for a boycott or postponement of the World Hockey Cup.

IIHF president responds to growing criticism after meeting with Lukashenka

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