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Finland demands Russia, Belarus be excluded from ice hockey world championship

Hosted by Finland, the 2022 ice hockey world championship finals are scheduled to take place from 13-29 May.

Finland beat the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team in the gold medal match at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this month. Image: Getty Images

The Finnish Ice Hockey Association has stated in a press release that it will not accept Russia and Belarus playing at this year's world championship finals, scheduled to be played in Finland in May.

The association added that the two countries should be barred from all international ice hockey events due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We had an active discussion over the weekend and also held a meeting with Luc Tardif, President of the International Hockey Federation. We have said that we do not intend to play against the national teams of these countries [Russia and Belarus]," chair of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association Harri Nummela said.

The press release noted that the Finnish, Swedish and Czech ice hockey associations will meet on Monday to discuss what changes the exclusion of Russia from international events will mean for the wider sport.

Over the weekend, the Swiss and Latvian ice hockey associations also called for the Russian team to be barred from international ice hockey tournaments.

The International Hockey Federation (IIHF) is also scheduled to meet on Monday, where Yle understands the federation will discuss excluding Russia from this year's world championships as well as the possible switching of ice hockey events away from Russia in the coming years.

In general, the sports world has reacted strongly to Russia's hostilities, with several international sporting events being cancelled or moved away from Russia since the country launched its invasion of Ukraine last week. For example, the venue of this year's Champions League final — European football's showcase event — was switched from St Petersburg to Paris due to Russia's attack.

In ice hockey, Finnish team Jokerit decided to end their participation in this year's Russian-dominated Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) just before the play-off stage, while Latvian side Dinamo Riga withdrew completely from the league.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) announced on Friday (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that five World Cup skiing events scheduled to take place in Russia have been cancelled or moved.

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