The IIHF have announced today that the 2021 World Championship will not take place in Belarus because of safety concerns.

The 16-team tournament is set to run from 21st May to 6th June 2021.

The IIHF have said that “the decision was reached by Council following the conclusion of an extensive due diligence process”.

GB were due to be based in Minsk in Group A, with matches against Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. The IIHF are yet to confirm where Group A will now be held.

Riga is the the host city for Group B with hosts Latvia joined by Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway and the USA.

“It is a very regrettable thing to have to remove the Minsk/Riga co-hosting bid,” said IIHF president René Fasel.

“During this process, we had tried to promote that the World Championship could be used as a tool for reconciliation to help calm the socio-political issues happening in the Belarus and find a positive way forward.

“And while the Council feels that the World Championship should not be used for political promotion by any side, it has acknowledged that hosting this event in Minsk would not be appropriate when there are bigger issues to deal with and the safety and security of teams, spectators, and officials to prioritise.”

With Minsk/Riga 2021 being a joint bid, the IIHF Council must consider the status of Latvia as a co-host and will also evaluate the possibility of moving to a single-venue format to facilitate COVID-19 safety regulations and team travel.

The IIHF Council will undertake the above actions and will come back with updates.

Click here for the full story on the IIHF website.