Kariņš explained that Latvia wants to host the 2021 World Championships in Riga, however, taking into account the situation in Belarus, the Prime Minister does not see the possibility that Latvia could host this championship together with Belarus.
“Let ‘s call on the IIHF to find another country instead of Belarus [IIHF] “The situation in Belarus will still not change, the government could decide that Latvia does not participate in the 2021 hockey championship,” stressed Kariņš.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (JV) said that the issue was discussed in some detail at today’s sitting.
“Our primary task is to start a conversation and discussion with the IIHF, and it will be done by the Ministry of Education and Science. It will not happen today or tomorrow – it must have some time frame. Our main goal is to do everything so that if the situation remains that is, the championship would be transferred from Belarus to another country, “said the minister.
However, Rinkēvičs admitted that the situation in Belarus could change due to a political turnaround, as a result of which the championship could take place there.
He also emphasized that it should be taken into account that the Latvian government is not the organizer of the championship – it provided guarantees of support, but the event is organized by sports federations.
“We have a constant debate about whether politics should be confused with sport. We hear that these things should not be confused, forgetting that there are countries where regimes use sport for political purposes,” Rinkēvičs said.
Earlier, Kariņš explained that in connection with the events in Belarus, he had instructed the Minister of Education and Science Ilgas Šuplinskas (JKP), who is also responsible for sports issues and the organization of the championship from the state, to contact the IIHF in order to find a common best solution. situation.
“At the moment, it is difficult to imagine how we can organize a hockey championship together after the recent events in Belarus,” the prime minister said.
An extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers was held on Monday, where the issue of the situation in Belarus was discussed. In the course of reviewing this issue, the issue of organizing the 2021 World Hockey Championship, which is jointly organized by the Latvian and Belarusian hockey federations, has also been raised.
It has already been reported that the IIHF has no plans to relocate the 2021 World Cup to another venue and does not want to make any political statements.
According to official preliminary results in the presidential election in Belarus, the current head of state, Alexander Lukashenko, won 80.08% of the vote, while opposition candidate Svetlana Tihanovska won 10.09%, but the opposition believes the election results are fake.
Almost 7,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured in Belarus as Belarusian security forces have violently suppressed protests against apparent election irregularities and falsification of results. More than 250 victims are being treated in hospitals, and there are also deaths.
The 2021 World Championship is organized by Minsk together with Riga, but the games of the decisive phase of the tournament are planned in the capital of Belarus. The Minsk World Championships were also hosted in 2014, and at that time the European Parliament called on the IIHF to prevent Belarus from hosting the championship, citing the authorities’ repression of the opposition.
In 2022 the tournament should be hosted in Finland (Helsinki and Tampere), in 2023 – in Russia (St. Petersburg), in 2024 – in the Czech Republic (Prague and Ostrava), and in 2025 – in Sweden and Denmark.
Riga and Minsk beat the Finnish cities of Helsinki and Tampere in a fierce battle in May 2017. Group tournaments and two quarterfinals will take place in Riga and Minsk, while the semifinals and the finals will be held in the capital of Belarus.
Riga has hosted the World Championships for the only time so far in 2006, while the tournament in Minsk took place in 2014.