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Latvia Asks for Sanctions Against Russian, Belarusian Hockey Federations

The Latvian Hockey Federation has joined a growing global call to impose sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
Latvia

The Latvian Hockey Federation has joined a growing global call to impose sanctions against sport – including hockey – in Russia and Belarus.

On Sunday, the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation made a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and calling on Russia to be removed as host of the 2023 World Junior Championship in Novosibirsk and the men's World Hockey Championship in St. Petersburg later that year.

Monday, the Latvian Hockey Federation released its own statement.

In a post to IHF.lv, Latvian Hockey Federation president Aigars Kalvītis (through Google Translate) said, “The Latvian Hockey Federation supports the sanctions and the isolation of Russia from the international community in various ways, including from international sports.”

Kalvītis continued by stating the Latvian national hockey team would not play scheduled pre-tournament games against Russia or Belarus in preparation for the 2022 World Championship in Finland.

Kalvītis' statement claimed that Latvia would be participating “in a joint initiative with other world hockey federations,” to appeal to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to “suspend the Russian Hockey Federation and the Belarusian Hockey Federation from the International Ice Hockey Federation.”

This weekend, Latvia’s Dinamo Riga also withdrew from the Kontinental Hockey League, Russia’s top professional hockey league.

While many governing bodies of sport claim to be apolitical, Kalvītis’ statement concluded by stating the opposition of one country to another must remain within the confines of sport. Further, he described sport venues as a spot for the promotion of peace and common values.

“Sports arenas are the scene for the promotion of fundamental human and democratic values ​​around the world.”

The IIHF is scheduled to meet today to discuss the next steps against Russia.

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