IIHF President meets with Latvian PM
by Adam Steiss / LHF|12 NOV 2020
IIHF President René Fasel speaks during the opening ceremony of the last IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 2019 in Slovakia.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
On Thursday, the Prime Minister of Latvia Krisjanis Karins, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel and the representatives of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation held a video conference to discuss the status for the organization of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship set to be co-hosted by Minsk, Belarus and Riga, Latvia.

“Today we had a very positive meeting with representatives from the Latvian government and the Latvian tournament organizer on the subject of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. We were honoured to have Prime Minister Karins’ participation in this meeting and are grateful for his valued input into the situation facing Minsk/Riga 2021,” said IIHF President René Fasel. 

During the conversation, the head of the Latvian government Karins repeatedly assured Fasel of his support to the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation to organize the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Riga.

The IIHF President stressed that the organization operates outside politics and is trying to do everything possible to make the World Championships take place in the two countries that were voted on by the IIHF Congress. However, Karins pointed out that the ability to provide safe conditions for players, participants, media, officials and fans is a priority, to which Fasel agreed. 

The IIHF and the head of the Latvian government expressed concern about the impact of COVID-19 on the preparation of this international sporting event. The most challenging problem is that organizers still do not know whether the fans will be able to attend the games at the World Championship. At the end of the conversation, Karins emphasized that the Latvian Government will respect the decision of the IIHF Council regarding World Championship.

“The main topics discussed surrounded the capabilities of tournament organizers to deliver a safe and secure World Championship, an especially difficult challenge with Europe now in the middle of a second COVID-19 wave,” said Fasel. 

“We are not yet under pressure to make immediate decisions regarding the tournament, and we must keep analyzing the situation in both countries as it evolves.

“This takes time, and in the next phase of this process we will present a security analysis to the IIHF Council and determine the next steps towards ensuring a safe and secure 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.”

Prior to the Council meeting, Fasel is also planning to meet with the ambassador of Belarus to Switzerland next week.