The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Russia, Belarus barred from hockey world championships

The International Ice Hockey Federation cited safety concerns in extending its ban of Russia and Belarus from world championship competition. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)
1 min

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced Wednesday that it will exclude Russia and Belarus from its world championships for the 2023-24 season. IIHF President Luc Tardif cited security concerns as the reason behind the decision.

“It’s too soon to reintegrate Russian and Belarusian competition,” Tardif said after a meeting of the federation’s council.

The IIHF initially suspended Russia and Belarus days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, aligning itself with the International Olympic Committee, which encouraged the exclusion of athletes from both countries from competition.

Jenkins: The surfer, the scientist and the big-wave beach at a breaking point

In recent months, the IOC has pushed Olympic sports governing bodies to reintegrate athletes from Russia and Belarus ahead of qualifying events for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris — a pivot that has drawn resistance from some countries. Tardif said the IIHF had discussions with the IOC but opted to extend its ban on Russian and Belarusian teams because of safety concerns for players, fans and its staff, and its shorter time frame for upcoming events.

The women’s world championship is scheduled to take place in the United States in March or April of next year. The men’s event is set to be played in the Czech Republic in May 2024.

Tardif said the IIHF will decide in the next year whether Russia and Belarus can participate in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.