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  • Latvia Wants New Co-host for 2021 IIHF championship -- Federation Focus


    (ATR) The government of Latvia still wants to co-host the 2021 IIHF World Championship but not with Belarus.

    Belarus protests began after the Aug. 9 presidential election. (Wikipedia)
    In a letter to the International Ice Hockey Federation, Latvia requested that another country step in and co-host due to the ongoing political unrest in Belarus, TASS reports.

    The letter also said that Latvia would pull out of co-hosting if the situation continues and the IIHF “does not take the respective decisions” in removing Belarus as a co-host.

    Last month, Latvian prime minister Krisjanis Karins warned that the country could consider withdrawing from co-hosting the tournament.

    The IIHF is expected to address the situation at its next council meeting on Sept. 17. IIHF president Rene Fasel has said that the federation is monitoring the situation but there are no plans to move the tournament at this time.

    Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the 2019 European Games opening ceremony in Minsk. (Belarus NOC)
    The protests in Belarus have continued since the disputed August 9 presidential election, where Alexander Lukashenko supposedly won re-election with 80 percent of the vote.

    The European Union is among those to have condemned the election, stating it was "neither free nor fair". The EU is reportedly planning to impose sanctions on the country.

    Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus for 26 years and is considered Europe's last dictator. He told Russian media on Tuesday that he would not step down.

    The 2021 IIHF World Championship is scheduled for May 21 – June 6 with Riga, Latvia and Minsk, Belarus each hosting one group and two quarterfinal games. Minsk Arena, the same venue used when Minsk had the 2014 edition, is scheduled to host the semifinals and medal matches.

    IF Gender Equality Webinar Series Opens

    The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 5th IF Gender Equality Forum but a series of online sessions has taken its place.

    The IF Gender Equality Webinar Series opened on Tuesday with the first two of six scheduled sessions.

    Like the Forum, the webinars are being hosted by the IOC in collaboration with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF).

    Marisol Casado (ITU)
    The IOC says the first two sessions were attended virtually by about 200 people, including IF presidents, executive board members, secretaries general, chief executives, committee members and development managers.

    Tuesday’s sessions were intended to increase female representation in governing bodies and improve women’s representation in decision-making positions.

    Marisol Casado, IOC Member and Chair of the ASOIF Diversity and Gender Equality Group, opened the webinar by saying: “Today there is a wide-ranging call for greater inclusivity and equality, and we must take the opportunity this current crisis provides to rebuild and innovate our progress towards a more inclusive, gender-equal and sustainable Olympic Movement.”

    Future webinars will cover topics including leadership of coaches and technical officials, safeguarding, and removing gender bias from all aspects of portrayal.

    Three Years Until Rugby World Cup 2023

    New logo for Rugby World Cup 2023 (World Rugby)
    France marked the three years to go mark until the Rugby World Cup 2023 with the launch of the “We Love 2023 Tour” and a new brand identity.

    The tour will visit 24 cities across France from Sept. 8 to Oct. 12 in a “uniquely branded train”.

    The France 2023 organizing committee says the flagship tournament will be the most socially responsible and sustainable rugby event ever.

    “France 2023 has embraced a vision: to have a positive impact for rugby, the planet and France by delivering a responsible event that addresses the challenges of today and tomorrow,” France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher said at the launch. “Rugby World Cup 2023 will be more than a sporting event. It will leave a legacy.”

    World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said “we are confident that France 2023 will deliver on its pledges.

    “There is much to look forward to. I have never seen a nation so well prepared as France with three years to go until a Rugby World Cup.”

    Homepage photo: IIHF

    Written by Gerard Farek

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