This year’s World Ice Hockey Championship is held in Riga. Initially, Belarus was due to host the tournament, but the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided to take the right to host the tournament from that country due to the political situation.
On Sunday, a plane with exhibitors and one of the authors of the Nexa Channel, Roman Protasevich, landed in an emergency at Minsk airport. This sparked criticism from the European Union and the United States.
Vladimir Mäki, Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mayor of Riga decided that the current flag Belarus It will be replaced by a white-red-white flag indicating historical symbols. This was done in the place where the flags of other countries participating in the Ice Hockey World Championships in Riga are located.
IIHF criticizes Latvia’s work
Tuesday International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Cup organizers from Latvia criticized the elite for removing the Belarusian flag and replacing it with the one used by the opposition. The International Hockey Federation said the actions of the Belarusian government and the country’s hockey team should be dealt with “separately”. In addition, it requested that the IIHF flag and the World Championship flag in the name of the ruling Sports Federation be removed from the same fair.
“The IOM does not agree with the steps taken by the mayor of Riga and the Latvian foreign minister to use the World Cup country flag as a political message,” the federation said in a statement.
The actions of the Belarusian authorities and the players competing under the Belarusian flag in this tournament must be treated separately. These Latvian hockey players have been welcomed as guests and must not see the flag removed without their consent at the exhibition that displays the flags of the sixteen participating countries. She added that FIFA will keep the Belarus flag in all World Cup stadiums for the duration of the tournament and hopes that the Mayor’s office will reconsider its decision.
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