IIHF: Exclude Belarus from Co-Hosting 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship
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OPEN LETTER to IIHF: Exclude Belarus from Being a Co-Hosting Country of the IIHF World Championship 2021 Due to Terrible Repressions Taking Place
Dear IIHF, Rene Fasel, Kalervo Kummola and IIHF Council Members,
I, Julia Abbasova, the citizen of Belarus, the Ukrainian Women’s Ice Hockey Champion of 2017/18, a goaltender and a marketer by day, born, raised and currently living in Minsk, Belarus, am reaching out to ask you to ban Belarus from being a hosting country for the IIHF World Championship 2021 due to political repressions taking place at the moment and caused by the election fraud.
At this very moment, while you’re reading this letter, literally thousands of peaceful Belarusians, men and women regardless of their age, occupation, and financial status are being beaten to serious injuries, shot, arrested, fined, and imprisoned for voting for another candidate Svetlana Tihanovskaya, not Alexander Lukashenko.
Forget the fair play code here.
Peaceful demonstrators are ruthlessly hit, arrested, and humiliated. Over 7,000 peaceful citizens are reported to be arrested and tortured with over 300 being in hospitals with serious injuries and 2 officially dead - all happened just for the past 3 days since the day of elections which was August 9. During the elections, thousands of cases of fraud were reported. In fact, the winning candidate, Svetlana Tihanovskaya was forced to leave a country with many of her associates and volunteers being arrested and unlawfully held in prison.
In case Lukashenko stays, many unlawfully arrested, peaceful citizens will be sentenced to and put in prison by the time the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship starts in Minsk.
I love hockey with all my heart and soul since I was a kid. I play it, breathe it, and am ready to help with all my skills to develop it. As a Belarusian and an ice hockey lover, I was looking forward to having a 2021 Championship being held in Minsk.
Today, I’m asking you NOT to close your eyes on the fact that the 2021 championship can take place in the bloody-regime country. Please, don’t compromise IIHF and Ice Hockey in general in the eyes of the world’s community. Exclude Belarus from hosting the 2021 championship.
I know IIHF considers Belarus a country that does a lot for hockey - spends a fortune on building new ice rinks, hosts international events, helps develop and promote ice hockey worldwide. This is true.
I also know that neither Belarusian Ice Hockey Association nor any person related to ice hockey in Belarus will stand for what’s happening. Our men of ice hockey - players, refs, coaches, and administrative staff keep silent. So I just had to take the word.
I’ll be honest regarding this letter, I’m scared to write and send this letter as I’m sure the backwash will follow. I don’t care if I’m banned from playing amateurs hockey here in Minsk or working as an announcer on games. I just can’t and don’t want to negotiate with my conscience. My heart is bleeding for all the people of Belarus. That's why.
I’m asking you to reconsider your decision regarding Belarus being a hosting country for the IIHF World Championship 2021 and ban Belarus from holding the tournament.
Because nothing matters more than innocent people's lives.
With all the respect to you for your work for ice hockey worldwide,
IMPORTANT NOTE regarding our position on hosting World Champ if the bloody illegitimate regime changes:
We’ll be happy to have World Champ 2021 here in Minsk if the regime changes, all political prisoners are freed, and all the cases of arresting over 10 000 peaceful Belarusians, beating to death, tortures, rapes, and other cases of iniquity and genocide are investigated.
If Lukashenko stays, hosting the World Championship will be a complete cynicism on the part of the IIHF towards the Belarusian nation.
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