Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Belarus almost ready for 2014 IIHF World Championship

Belarus is almost ready for the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Tuesday, speaking to Russian journalists.

Belarus is almost ready for the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Tuesday, speaking to Russian journalists.

"We are yet to finish building a few hotels and then the country will, in general, be ready for the world championship," the Belarusian leader said. "The construction of the second arena, in Chyzhowka [Minsk's neigborhood], will be completed next year. We are ready to accommodate guests even if the championship were held tomorrow. We've put all health centers around Minsk in good condition. There was a presidential order to this effect. They can serve as excellent hotels. We also can feed people. It is possible to buy something to eat in stores. We seem to have enough restaurants and cafes. This is no problem. We can build more."

Mr. Lukashenka explained that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had chosen to hold the championship in what was called a dictatorship because there was a developed infrastructure there. "We reached the necessary level," he said. "We built everything for ourselves. The infrastructure was almost ready. There was only one arena left to be built. Our people are fond of sports."

According to Mr. Lukashenka, an inspection team is to arrive in Belarus on November 30 to evaluate the progress of preparations for the championship. IIHF President Rene Fazel "likes Belarus," Mr. Lukashenka said. "He asked for a meeting to discuss some things and I'll meet with him."