IIHF President René Fasel suggested Belarus will receive compensation after it was stripped of the Men's World Championship ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has suggested Belarus will receive financial compensation after the country was stripped of co-hosting the Men's World Championship.

The IIHF Council decided to move the World Championship from Belarus this week due to safety and security issues.

There had been mounting pressure to strip the country of the tournament following the disputed re-election of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in August. 

An IIHF Expert Group had also expressed "scepticism" over the reporting of COVID-19 cases in Belarus following a review into the situation.

According to Russian state news agency TASS, Fasel revealed Belarus would receive compensation for the decision. 

"We discussed the financial issue and must find a solution to this problem," the IIHF President said. 

"Of course, we will not be enemies and we will solve this problem, we need to find an approach. 

"We will discuss the situation with the organisers. 

"In force majeure situations, we must pay compensation."

insidethegames has contacted the IIHF for comment on the exact details of the financial compensation. 

The Men's World Championship had been set to be held in Minsk and the Latvian capital of Riga from May 21 to June 6.

Sponsors such as Skoda had threatened to withdraw from the IIHF Men's World Championship if it remained in Belarus ©Getty Images
Sponsors such as Skoda had threatened to withdraw from the IIHF Men's World Championship if it remained in Belarus ©Getty Images

The IIHF said its Council reached the decision to strip Belarus of the competition "following the conclusion of an extensive due diligence process" and was permitted to do so due to its bylaws which allow for an event to be moved if "there is reason for concern that the well-being or the safe freedom of movement of the players, officials, traveling spectators and media is in doubt."

Independent experts and all stakeholders were consulted on the viability of holding the World Championship in Belarus in the face of the "growing safety and security concerns related to both the rising political unrest and COVID-19."

The final stage of the IIHF Council due diligence process was claimed to be a meeting with the Belarusian Government last week, as well as the commissioning of a further independent expert report.

The IIHF decision came just days after tournament sponsors threatened to withdraw from supporting the World Championship if it remained in Belarus. 

German motor oil manufacturer Liqui Moly joined car manufacturers Skoda and body care brand Nivea Men in threatening to withdraw its support.

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation had also campaigned in recent months for the IIHF to move the World Championships from Belarus.     

Lukashenko's re-election in August, deemed neither free nor fair by numerous international observers, resulted in widespread protests across the country which are still ongoing. 

The Belarusian Government has cracked down violently on protesters and Lukashenko is now banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from attending the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after it was found he had "not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member sports federations or the sports movement".

IIHF President René Fasel was criticised for meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ©Getty Images
IIHF President René Fasel was criticised for meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ©Getty Images

It followed allegations that athletes had been beaten, tortured and arrested for participating in the protests against Lukashenko, who is also head of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus. 

Lukashenko's son Viktor and Belarusian Ice Hockey Association (BIHA) President Dmitri Baskov also received a suspension from the IOC, with the latter accused of involvement in the death of an opposition activist.

Fasel, who is an IOC member, was criticised for meeting with Lukashenko in Belarus and having a picture taken with Baskov, but claimed he had made the trip in an attempt to turn the World Championship into an event of "reconciliation".

The IIHF said its Council will now 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."

Slovakia and the Czech Republic have both offered to co-host the event alongside Latvia, while Latvia have also offered to host the event on its own.

Lithuania has also sent letters to the IIHF and Latvia expressing an interest in co-hosting matches with the Latvians.

"Latvia views our proposal very positively and there is a certain progress with the international federation," said Lithuanian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Siugzdiniene, as reported by TASS.