René Fasel has again spoken out against "collective punishment" ahead of the CAS ruling on Russia ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has warned the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling in favour of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in its dispute with Russia would cause "very serious" problems for future Ice Hockey World Championships.

Russia's flag or anthem would be banned from major events - including World Championships and the Olympic Games - for four years if the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's appeal against the package of sanctions imposed on the country by WADA is rejected by CAS.

Athletes from the nation would only be able to compete as neutrals at these events if they meet a series of conditions, including proving they had no involvement in the state-sponsored doping scheme or the subsequent cover-up.

The IIHF was among the intervening parties in RUSADA's appeal, heard by the CAS this week, as its 2023 World Championships would have to be moved from Russia if sport's highest court decides in WADA's favour.

Russia must be stripped of any major event it has been awarded that is due to take place in the four-year period where the WADA sanctions apply, unless affected International Federations can prove it is " legally or practically impossible" to find an alternative host.

Fasel has been a frequent critic of "collective punishment", including in the build-up to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, where the Russian flag and anthem were banned and the country's athletes competed as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" following revelations of a state-sponsored doping scheme orchestrated by the nation.

The "neutral" Russian team won the ice hockey gold medal at Pyeongchang 2018.

Fasel, who is set to step down as IIHF President next year, repeated his opposition to Russia being plunged into sporting exile as punishment for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory in an interview with Russia's official state news agency TASS.

Russia could be forced to compete as neutrals at the IIHF World Championship if CAS rules in WADA's favour ©Getty Images
Russia could be forced to compete as neutrals at the IIHF World Championship if CAS rules in WADA's favour ©Getty Images

"We need to find people who made mistakes and punish them, but collective punishment cannot be applied," Fasel said.

"We have an example of the Games in Pyeongchang, when the Russian national team was forced, unfairly in my opinion, to play without a flag and anthem. 

"In Sochi, the hockey teams were not involved in any way. 

"Now we have the same task, we must support the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the IIHF and fight against collective punishment.

"If collective punishment is adopted, it will be a very serious problem for our World Championships. 

"Many fans from Russia always come to them. 

"Plus we have the World Championship in Russia in 2023. 

"I think that playing at the Olympics without a national anthem and a flag is incorrect."

Saint Petersburg is due to stage the 2023 IIHF World Championship, but the IIHF could be forced to find a new host owing to the WADA sanctions.

Fasel, who is set to step down as IIHF President next year, has previously claimed moving the tournament away from Russia would be "impossible".

Russian Ice Hockey Federation President and IIHF Council member Vladislav Tretiak attempted to plead the country's case for remaining as hosts of the IIHF World Championship during the CAS hearings this week.

"We are already building a stadium for 20,000 spectators, a lot of money has been invested there," Tretiak told TASS.

"This is very important for us, this is prestige, we want to hold a big holiday in 2023. 

"We know how to hold the World Cup, as it was in 2018, when a similar football tournament was held. 

"The IIHF entrusted us to host the World Cup, so we hope that WADA will allow us to do this."