EP has issued a special resolution where it urges IIHF to refrain from hosting 2014 championship in Minsk.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging the Ice Hockey Federation to reconsider holding the World Cup in Belarus next year, citing torture of political prisoners. “We should not be allowing Europe's last tyrant to host an international sporting event that will lend [him] legitimacy,” Belgian news resource EUobserver quotes a Swedish MEP as saying.
As BelaPAN recalls, in May, 2013 the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) approved all the venues of hockey matches in 2014. Having neglected numerous protests of human rights activists and some European politicians the IIHF refused point black to move the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus to a different country.
Human rights groups repeatedly expressed disappointment at the refusal. According to their statement, the championship will give Aliaksandr Lukashenka "a great opportunity to shed a positive light on himself and his regime”.
In his turn, René Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, thrown cold water on German MPs’ appeal to relocate the 2012 World Ice Hockey Championship from Belarus.
As German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, in his reply Mr Fasel said that «the discrimination of IIHF members, hockey clubs and people on political, racial or religious grounds is prohibited». The president mentioned «fundamental principles» of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and said that ice hockey is a politics-free sport.
Štefan Füle, the European Commissioner's for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, when commenting upon the EU policy towards Belarus, said that “Ice Hockey World Championship, indeed an important event’, and admitted that he is “not a friend of boycotts in particular when it comes to sports”. However, according to him, “it does not mean that we should not use this event to turn the focus of Europe and the whole world to situation with human rights in Belarus. It would be a great opportunity to make that case very clear in Belarus itself, in Europe but also in the whole world”, reports democraticbelarus.eu.