The decision was taken due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Given the current circumstances and following discussions with various stakeholders, the IIHF Council has determined that the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Zurich and Lausanne cannot take place.
"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family.”
"We accept this decision of the IIHF Council,” said Gian Gilli, General Secretary for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organizing Committee. “But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organizing Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues."
The decision to cancel the World Championship will have a far-reaching impact on the IIHF and its partners, as well as the participating teams and the IIHF Member National Associations that were due to arrive in May for the IIHF Annual Congress.
Both the IIHF and the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organizing Committee have implemented a robust insurance and risk management program for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in accordance with the IIHF Statutes and insurance guidelines. Part of these risk management measures included protecting the substantial revenues associated with the event. These revenue protection measures have responded accordingly.
In addition, the 2020 IIHF Annual Congress, which was scheduled to take place in Zurich from 21-23 May 2020, is postponed until further notice. The IIHF Council will communicate and discuss using all available means in the coming weeks to evaluate the organizational and sportive implications of the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship cancellation, and also to determine the feasibility of holding an Annual Congress in Zurich at a later date.
There are obviously no possibilities to relocate the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to another country. The potential scenario of a postponement of the World Championship in Switzerland to another year is a matter that must be discussed within the Congress given the fact that the host countries for the forthcoming IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship are fixed until Year 2025. Therefore, such a decision will not be forthcoming until Congress is next in session.
For ice hockey fans that planned to attend the World Championship in Zurich and Lausanne, the refund policy for ticket holders will be clarified as soon as possible by the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organizing Committee. The Organizing Committee requests all stakeholders concerned for patience and will provide information on the next steps.