Switzerland has failed in its bid to stage the 2005 ice hockey world championships, losing out by 10 votes to the rival Austrian campaign.
The International Ice Hockey Federation held the vote in Hanover on Friday, during a rest day from the current world championships. The IIHF announced that Austria had received 55 votes, while Switzerland had garnered 45.
Although the voting members of the Federation's congress do not have to give any reasons for their decisions, the relative expense of organising an event in Switzerland is thought to have influenced opinion.
It had also been argued that it was Austria's turn to stage the tournament - the world championships were last held in Vienna in 1996, while Switzerland were hosts as recently as 1998.
Friday's vote completed a disappointing week of ice hockey for the Swiss federation. On Monday the national side made an early exit from the competition after winning just two of its six matches in Germany.
Just as Switzerland coach Ralph Krueger promised that his team would be fighting back next year, the Swiss ice hockey association is also looking to bounce back swiftly.
Ironically, Friday's vote could help bring the championships to Switzerland even sooner than planned. The president of the national ice hockey association has now offered Switzerland's services for the 2004 tournament, should the Czech Republic be forced to pull out.
The Czechs, who are struggling to gather the finances necessary to hold the world championships, have already had to 'swap' the 2003 event with Finland.
If the Czech project goes ahead as planned, though, Switzerland is likely to face a long wait before it can again welcome the world's top hockey players.
The Swiss association has decided not to bid for the 2006 championships, having already experienced in 1998 the difficulty of hosting a tournament in between the Winter Olympics and football's World Cup.
Switzerland has also agreed to support a Canadian bid for the 2007 event, while in 2008 the tournament is set to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the IIHF in the Federation's founding city, Paris.
swissinfo with agencies
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