Statement from IIHF
by Adam Steiss|25 MAY 2021
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The IIHF does not agree with the actions taken yesterday by the Mayor of Riga and the Latvian Foreign Minister to use the flag of a participating country in the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship for a political message.

The actions of the Belarus government are separate from the players who are competing under the Belarus flag at this tournament. The players have been welcomed to Latvia as guests and should not have to see their flag removed without their consent from the public display of the 16 participating countries. This is in direct contradiction to the host country slogan “Passion. No Borders.”

Therefore, the IIHF has asked the Mayor of Riga to urgently take down the IIHF flag from the same area, as well as the World Championship flag which bears the IIHF name. In accordance with the IIHF Statutes, we are an apolitical sports organization, and are demanding that the IIHF is removed from any association with the political statements the Mayor and Foreign Minister have made by changing the flag of our Member.

The IIHF will retain the Belarus flag in all World Championship venues for the duration of the tournament, and hopes that the mayor’s office of Riga will reconsider its decision to remove the Belarus flag from the group of participating nations being displayed in Riga.