VILNIUS, Lithuania: Lithuania offered to replace ousted Belarus as co-host of this year’s hockey world championships on Thursday.
Prime Minister Ingrida imonyt discussed Lithuanias determination to co-host the tournament with neighboring Latvia in a call with International Ice Hockey Federation president Ren Fasel, the Baltic nation’s government said.
Fasel was a long-time supporter of Belarus continuing as co-host until accepting it had to change plans in fallout from the disputed re-election last year of authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko. Sponsors had told the IIHF they would withdraw if Belarus was retained.
Lithuanias government said the decision should have been done earlier to move the tournament.
Logistically, organizing the tournament in the neighboring countries would also be much more convenient under the conditions of the pandemic, imonyt said.
Lithuania, which has not qualified for the men’s championship, offered the cities of Vilnius and Kaunas for the tournament, which is scheduled to run from May 21 to June 6.
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