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27 May, 2022 17:17

Russian hockey legend slams World Championship venue change

The IIHF's 2023 spectacle will now take place in Finland and Latvia
Russian hockey legend slams World Championship venue change

Russian hockey legend Boris Mayorov has slammed the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for its "boorishness" after the body confirmed that the 2023 World Championship will be moved to Finland and Latvia.

The two countries' joint application was approved at a congress on Friday and later made public by the sport's global authority.

As a consequence, the 2023 World Championship will be held in Tampere and Riga, with Tampere set to host the event for the second year in a row while Riga also hosted the tournament in 2021.

Reacting to the news, Mayorov balked "it's just boorishness" to Match TV while also questioning why the development had happened and pondering whether Russia could be expelled from the IIHF altogether.

Suggesting that it was possible the ban "will be lifted within a year", as the IIHF is now demonstrating it is "completely dependent on the political structures of the west", the two-time Olympic champion said the organization is not expressing its own opinion and instead adapting "to what the rulers of Western countries dictate".

"If the situation in Ukraine changes and the world begins to live a normal life, the disqualification will be immediately removed from us," Mayorov claimed before criticizing the IIHF's "boorishness", and stating that no other sports federation behaves like them.

While Mayorov believes that Finland has merely a "normal infrastructure", he also said Riga has just a small ice rink which is "not the best option" for holding a competition at such a high level.

The World Championship was originally scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg until the IIHF followed an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation and stripped Russia of hosting rights as a response to its military operation in Ukraine.

Furthermore, it has also been decided on Friday that Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete in the relocated competition next year, but the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (FHR) has protested that there is no legal basis for this verdict on its website. 

The FHR noted that previously submitted applications to the IIHF's Disciplinary Committee challenging Russia's non-participation in international tournaments, as well as requesting the return of its 2023 World Championship and 2023 World Youth Championship hosting rights, will be dealt with on June 15.

Back in 2022, the IIHF World Championship is currently ongoing in Finland and set to conclude on Sunday with the final played between the winner of Finland versus the USA and Canada versus the Czech Republic.