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Russia will no longer host 2023 ice hockey championship over Ukraine: IIHF

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Next year’s ice hockey world championship will be moved away from St Petersburg in Russia, governing body IIHF said on Tuesday, due to concerns about the wellbeing of players and officials after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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The tournament was scheduled to take place in St Petersburg from May 5-21. The federation said it will name an alternate host during the 2022 world championship, which will take place in Finland.

“The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans,” the IIHF said in a statement.

“The council expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.”

The Russian Hockey Federation will appeal the decision, TASS news agency quoted a federation official as saying on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the IIHF suspended Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions until further notice and revoked Russia’s hosting rights for the 2023 world junior championships.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation.” Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion.

St Petersburg and Moscow co-hosted the 2016 world championships, where Russia finished third.

This year’s edition in Finland will be held from May 13-29 with Austria and France replacing Russia and Belarus.

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