IIHF’s Fasel: Moving Russia’s World Championship not possible

Rene Fasel speaks during the 4th Meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission (Photo by Xinyu Cui/Getty Images)

René Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), has said it would “not be possible” for the organisation to reassign hosting rights for its 2023 men’s World Championship following the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada’s) recommendation that Russia be prevented from hosting competitions for a four-year period.

On Monday, Wada recommended the hosting ban due to an “extremely serious” case of non-compliance. The agency made the details of its independent Compliance Review Committee’s (CRC’s) recommendation on the status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) public and the proposed sanctions will be considered by its Executive Committee at a meeting on December 9.

Fasel told Russian news agency Tass: “The first thing is that we have to wait for the decision on December 9 and this is very important because we don’t know what they will decide. They can apply the proposal made by this group (CRC) or they can change it.”

Fasel added: “These different championships were allocated when Rusada was compliant. Therefore, I cannot see legally how we have to change that and I don’t think it will be changed.

“This is legally binding, we have contracts, we have the sponsors and I think it will be not possible to change that. They (Russia) have started already with the construction in Omsk, in Novosibirsk, in Saint Petersburg.”

The event-hosting sanctions would come into effect for a four-year term at which Rusada is officially confirmed non-compliant. The sanctions include the provision that Russia may not host, bid for, or be granted in the four-year period, the right to host any major sporting events.

In cases where the right to host an event in the period has already been awarded to Russia, the signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or “practically impossible” to do so. Russia may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, irrespective of whether the bidding takes place during or after the four-year period.

St. Petersburg is also scheduled to host four matches at next year’s Uefa European Championships and Wada has confirmed that the recommendation will not affect these plans.

In an email to the Associated Press news agency, Wada said: “As regards Uefa, the Euros is not a multi-sport major event or a world championship but rather a regional/continental single-sport event. So it is not affected by this recommendation.”

St. Petersburg is also scheduled to host the 2021 Uefa Champions League final and AP has reported that the recommendation will also not cover this match.

Wada’s announcement on Monday came after the agency announced last Friday that a recommendation of non-compliance had been levelled against Rusada.