IIHF President Rene Fasel has claimed it would be impossible to move their 2023 World Championships ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has claimed moving the sport's 2023 World Championships away from Russia would be "impossible".

The Swiss official made the comment to Russia's official state news agency TASS, following the recommendation made by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Compliance Review Committee (CRC) yesterday.

The WADA CRC recommended for the anti-doping watchdog to sanction Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for a four-year period.

This followed "an extremely serious case of non-compliance with the requirement to provide an authentic copy of the Moscow data, with several aggravating features".

The proposed sanctions included a recommendation that "Russia may not host in the four-year period or bid for or be granted in the four-year period, the right to host any editions of the major events".

"Where the right to host a major event in the four-year period has already been awarded to Russia, the signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so.

"In addition, Russia may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, irrespective of whether the bidding takes place during or after the four-year period."

The IIHF World Championship is set to be hosted in Saint Petersburg, with competition at the SKK Peterburgsky and Ice Palace venues.

The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship will also be held in Russia.

The youth event is scheduled to take place in Novosibirsk from December 26 in 2022 to January 5.

Fasel said the IIHF would wait for the WADA Executive Committee's final decision, but raised doubts over whether it would be possible to move the two events.

Saint Petersburg is set to host the 2023 Ice Hockey World Championships ©Getty Images
Saint Petersburg is set to host the 2023 Ice Hockey World Championships ©Getty Images

"I note that we will need to wait for the decision of WADA on December 9, because it is important, because we do not know what they will decide," he told TASS.

"The Executive Committee can accept the Committee's proposal, it can change something in the recommendations.

"With regard to the issue of the World Championships in Russia, then the tournaments are already distributed.

"I don't see changes in the venues of tournaments to be made lawfully, so I think that changing the venue of these competitions is impossible.

"We have contracts, sponsors for these events. 

"Before this tournament, new arenas are being built in Omsk, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg.

"I spoke with lawyers, they don't have any idea how this can be changed."

WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories states that "if the right to host or co-host a World Championship and/or other International Event has already been awarded to the country in question, the signatory that awarded that right must assess whether it is legally and practically possible to withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country. 

"If it is legally and practically possible to do so, then the Signatory shall do so.

"Signatories shall ensure that they have due authority under their statutes, rules and regulations, and/or hosting agreements, to comply with this requirement (including a right in any event hosting agreement to cancel the agreement without penalty where the relevant country has been ruled ineligible in accordance with this Article 11 to host the Event)."

The CRC recommendation was sent to WADA last week, with the organisation's Executive Committee due to consider the proposal at its meeting in Paris on December 9.