Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

Hit by a puck below the belt: Lukashenko will be deprived of hockey

Congress of the IIHF will reconsider the place for Ice Hockey World Championship in 2014. The reason was the incessant demands of human rights defenders and the international community to change the place of championship.

This was announced to the Swedish edition of Svenska Dagbladet by the manager of the International Hockey Federation Shimon Shemberg.

According to him, to discuss this issue at the highest organ of the IIHF - Congress, which will meet in May in Helsinki, was decided at a meeting of the Federation's Council. The reason was the incessant demands of human rights defenders and the international community to change the place of championship. The protests have being lasted from 2009, when the Congress named Minsk as the capital of the World Championship 2014, Radio Liberty informs.

As stated in an interview with journalists the head of Swedish section of the Amnesty International Lisa Berg, a holiday can not be held, where there are massive human rights violations. According to representatives of Amnesty International, recently the situation with democratic rights and freedoms in Belarus has deteriorated further. However, the hockey leadership holds its grounds, and argues that in political matters, as well as in religious and racial, the federation remains neutral.

"But sports and politics are linked in a sense, that the sporting event helps the regime to make its own politics", Lisa Berg said. "The most unfortunate is that such events further contribute to even more brutal repressions against critics of the regime. Recall the example of Beijing Olympics".

As for the IIHF, here the question of Minsk primacy has been discussed so far only in the context of its organization. According to Svenska Dagbladet, the last discussion was held on Tuesday in Zurich. Federation President Rene Fasel said the preparation was going well and that none of the member-states of the Federation expressed any complaints. However, due to piquancy of Belarusian subject, already in the next day it was decided to reconsider the place of championship at May Congress, Svenska Dagbladet wrote, citing the words of the manager Shemberg.

The newspaper notes, the decision will be made by the same people who voted for Minsk in 2009.

In Minsk, they don't believe yet that Belarus can be deprived of the right to hold the Ice Hockey World Championship.

"One and a half weeks ago we met with representatives of the IIHF, board members, there was not even a word about something like that. And who is Shemberg, I don't know. This issue has never been raised. IIHF's position is as follows: the place of championship is defined and it is Minsk. In the IIHF, I repeat again, the question has never been raised, because the Congress decided, the championship will be held in Belarus. There have been several press conferences where this was emphasized by the head of the IIHF Rene Fasel. Is it possible to listen to any manager, who speaks about such serious things?", Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation Yevgeny Vorsin commented on the situation to BelaPAN.