At the IIHF Annual Congress in Finland this week, a decision was made to “freeze the participation” of Russia and Belarus at World Championship events in 2023.
The move comes after the men’s and women’s senior national teams were not allowed to participate in 2022 events following the invasion of Ukraine. This ban will extend into IIHF events in 2023, with no confirmation of a potential end date.
“From the beginning, we’ve tried to adapt to the situation,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said about the timeline for the reintegration for both teams. “We waited as long as possible to extend the suspension, hoping for a better situation, but that wasn’t the case. Right now, there’s nothing else we can do.”
An appeal for the decision is expected to be considered by the disciplinary committee on June 15.
Russia was supposed to host the 2023 men’s World Championship but was stripped in favor of a joint bid by Finland and Latvia.
Austria and France filled in to make up the 16-team tournament in Finland this year, with Hungary and Slovenia replacing Great Britain and Italy next year.
“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) does not agree with the decision to freeze the participation of the senior Russian national team at the 2023 World Championship, which was made by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) at the Semi-Annual Congress,” a statement from the RIHF said. “This is because there are no legal grounds for this decision to be made.
In a different statement, Belarus’ hockey federation said (translated) that they are “convinced that this decision of the International Ice Hockey Federation has become another in the list of decisions taken under the influence and pressure of individual National Federations, which have become virtually hostages of Western politicians.”