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Swiss hosts Pandemic puts paid to ice hockey world championship

Ice hockey mascots on ice rink

The tournament was slated to take place in Lausanne and Zurich.

(Keystone / Christian Bruna)

The Ice Hockey World Championship, which had been scheduled to start in Switzerland from May 8, has been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Ice Hockey Federationexternal link (IIHF) took the decision on Saturday. “This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” said IIHF president René Fasel in a statementexternal link. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set aside sport for now and support both government bodies and the ice hockey family.”

There is no possibility to reschedule the annual tournament to another date later this year, the organisers said. Other host countries have been fixed until 2025, raising the possibility that Switzerland could miss out on hosting the event for some time.

The IIHF congress will meet to thrash out the implications of the championship being cancelled this year and arrange a ticket refund policy.

Orders had been received for some 300,000 tickets worth around CHF24 million ($24.4 million), Gian Gilli, CEO of the organising committee, told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA.

The tournament had “implemented a robust insurance and risk management program” to cover lost revenues from a cancellation.

The 2020 IIHF annual conference, due to have been held in Zurich on May 21-23, has also been called off. It has yet to be decided when and where the meeting can be rescheduled.

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