23 January 2018, Tuesday, 19:13

WDR TV channel: Hockey nations should boycott the World Championship in Minsk


The issue of the Sport from the Inside on the German WDR TV channel was devoted to the Hockey World Championship of 2014.

A Bundestag member from the Green Party, sport issues coordinator Viola von Kramon, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel, as well as the deputy head of the human rights organization Belarusian Helsinki Committee Gary Paganyaila and a former presidential candidate Uladzimir Niakliaeu participated in the program.

According to  Gary Paganyaila, the future championship should better be relocated to another country, considering the criminal nature of the Belarusian regime, Radio Svaboda reports.

Uladzimir Niakliaeu spoke in favor of the boycott of the competition and called the great hockey nations – Germany, Sweden, Finland, USA and Canada – to reconsider their participation in the 2014 world Championship in Minsk. “Let those teams that support the regime of Lukashenka play there – the Kazakhs and Russians – play there”, - Niakliaeu stated.

The president of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel expressed a disagreement with such claims, pointing out that one “should not abuse sports for reaching political goals” as the aim of a sport is not “put political pressure”.

The Bundestag member Viola von Kramon called “politically fatal” the IIHFs decision taken in 2009 to hold a championship in Belarus.

“We know that Lukashenka reigns in Belarus, who carries out repressions and suppresses the opposition… Naturally this significant event will be used exclusively for the consolidation of Lukashenka’s power”, Viola von Kramon says.

The German deputy does not call for a boycott but demands to fundamentally reconsider the principles according to which the hosts of large scale competitions are decided.

“It is important that now the fundamental ground structure of the international sports politics fell in the focus of our attention. And it is not a question of reacting exclusively radically and call, wherever it is possible, for a sports boycott. That is something we do not want. We want that decisions regarding such events to be taken according to transparent criteria. We want that it to be clear for the countries, that suggest themselves as championships hosts, on which conditions they will be able to receive such a right”, Viola von Kramon said.