In recognition of its exceptional impact on the 2019/2020 IIHF season, the IIHF is providing its membership with a status report on the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Since January 2020, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the IIHF’s ability to host tournaments, forcing the IIHF Council to initiate a cancellation of nine IIHF World Championships (four in the Women’s category and four in the U18 category, and one in the Men’s category), and additionally four IIHF Challenge Cups of Asia tournaments.
Update on coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19 has had a major effect on international travel for several countries. It has also become necessary for all countries hosting ice hockey competitions and other sporting events to follow all relevant national and international health regulations requirements. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared a pandemic, and the respective national authorities are currently focused on containment measures.
The WHO reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.
The IIHF Medical Committee continues to be in close communication with the World Health Organization (WHO). The following sites are recommended as useful sources for the latest information on the coronavirus:
- Coronavirus 2019 – WHO
- Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports – WHO
- Travel restrictions, flight operations and screening – SOS International
- Destination List - Centers for Disease control and presentation (CDC)
Recommendations for tournament organizers
Following consultations with the IIHF Medical Committee, the IOC, and the WHO, the IIHF has outlined some practical information for reference.
i. Identify risks in advance
- Monitor the official developments of COVID-19 cases on SOS International to identify the risk to events in impacted areas
- Monitor inbound and outbound travel restrictions, flight operations and screening measures on SOS International and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites
- Continue to coordinate with your Local Government and Local Organizing Committees (LOCs) to obtain the latest updates on national health regulations in territories hosting your events, as these may cause potential restrictions on athlete participation at Olympic qualification events
Given the fluid nature of the coronavirus situation, the IIHF thanks all the tournament organizers for their close communication with the IIHF Event Department during this period.
ii. Explore solutions with national Sports Bodies and Local Authorities
Where there may be health regulations or entry restrictions which could impact on athlete participation and/or fan attendance, all potential solutions should be explored, and close communication maintained with the IIHF Office.
In instances where a new health regulation and/or entry restriction has been put into place, please notify the IIHF Event Department as early as possible in order to explore possible solutions.
Recent measures taken by some countries hosting events in impacted areas include:
- Make available a list of Frequently Asked Questions for athletes, officials and MNAs to address the status and impacts of COVID-19 within your sport and events. For example: Badminton World Federation.
- Liaise with National Health Authorities of your events, to determine any necessary medical or health documentation for participants (e.g. mandatory questionnaire and an approved medical examination certificate if required by local health authorities). If this is required, please notify the IIHF Event Department. For example: International Skating Union
- Work with the local Health Authorities to organize ongoing health screenings on-site, including a temperature check for athletes and entourage upon arrival, pre-competition and during competition, and carry out COVID-19 tests for those individuals arriving from highly affected areas.
- Other good event practices include:
- Work with health agencies to implement standard operating procedures for suspected cases
- Provide hand sanitizers and masks throughout the event
- Display health advisories at venues, reminding athletes and entourage to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, including advice on hand washing and minimizing physical contact
- Request that all participants monitor their own health
- Increase medical personnel on-site
IIHF plan of action: March-April 2020
In the last month, the IIHF Council has held two emergency meetings and multiple consultations with the IIHF Medical Committee. There are plans for the IIHF Council and IIHF Office to hold regular consultations with the Medical Committee going forward.
The IIHF Office remains in close contact with all LOCs. We encourage all LOCs to maintain close communication with the IIHF in case of any organizational changes at the LOC, medical, or government level within their countries.
The IIHF Council will hold its annual spring meeting on 16-18 March. During this meeting the Council will evaluate the impact of these cancellations, with regards to any financial compensation for already-incurred costs to tournament organizers as well as to the participating teams.
In the meantime, the IIHF Office continues to monitor the development of the coronavirus and will re-evaluate daily the capability of tournament organizers to host IIHF championships in April. The IIHF Event Department is tracking the status of all active tournaments. Participating teams can contact the IIHF Event Department for more information.
Factors related to tournament cancellations
The IIHF Council takes into account multiple factors when determining if a tournament is cancelled:
- International, National, and Local Government directives
- Travel regulations for participating teams
- Safety risk to players, officials, and spectators
- Recommendation of IIHF Medical Committee
Ultimately, the IIHF must follow the directions of the Federal Government of a host country. If the government submits a recommendation or a directive to cancel a tournament, this decision will be acknowledged and supported by the IIHF.
Impact on IIHF World Ranking, Women’s Olympic Qualification
The IIHF Competition and Coordination Committee will review the sportive impact of the tournament cancellations and will present recommendations to the IIHF Council during its March meeting.
Communication plan for tournament cancellations
In the event of a canceled tournament, the IIHF Event Department will notify the Member National Association and the Local Organizing Committee of the hosting country, as well as the tournament’s participating teams.
Once the MNA has confirmed it has received the cancellation notice, the announcement of the cancellation will be made on IIHF.com.
2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and 2020 IIHF Congress
The IIHF together with the Local Organizing Committee, is continuing plans to hold the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the 2020 IIHF Annual Congress in Switzerland.
Due to the constantly shifting nature of the coronavirus situation, the IIHF Office, the IIHF Medical Committee, and the IIHF Council are in close communication with the tournament organizer as well as with the various health and government organizations within Switzerland.
We are continuously re-evaluating our ability to safely host the IIHF Annual Congress and will provide delegates and MNAs with regular status updates.
This letter was created in order to provide the IIHF membership with the latest updates regarding the IIHF’s efforts to address the coronavirus situation. The IIHF President, General Secretary, the IIHF Office and all IIHF departments remain available at any time to assist our membership.
In order to maximize any support, the IIHF can offer, and to assist us in the ongoing monitoring of the situation, please keep us informed of the impact of COVID-19 on your MNA.
Above all, we wish good health to all the members of our ice hockey family. We remain committed to helping each other during this difficult situation.
With best regards,
INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION
IIHF General Secretary