A host has not yet been confirmed for the Deaflympics ©Deaflympics

Italy is still set to host the 2019 Winter Deaflympics as the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) continues to deal with fallout following the arrest of President Valery Rukhledev last month.

Rukhledev is serving two months of house arrest until July 23 as he faces embezzlement charges in Russia.

The 70-year-old, a six-time Deaflympics champion for the Soviet Union between 1969 and 1977 in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, has been charged under the Russian Criminal Code.

He is accused of embezzling over RUB50 million (£604,000/$803,800/€690,000) from the All-Russian Society of the Deaf in Moscow.

Taiwan's Kang Chen has been appointed acting President and has prioritised finding a Winter Deaflympics host.

It is likely, however, that the event will be pushed back until later next year.

"The ICSD wishes to inform you that we continue to work with FSSI (Federazione Sport Sordi Italia) closely about the 2019 Winter Deaflympics in Italy," the ICSD said.

Kang Chen, left, has been appointed acting ICSD President to replace Valery Rukhledev ©Deaflympics
Kang Chen, left, has been appointed acting ICSD President to replace Valery Rukhledev ©Deaflympics

The ICSD added: "On June 14 2018, they had a meeting of the FSSI Board where all members have made the unanimous decision - to support a host to 2019 Winter Deaflympics. 

"They plan to hold Deaflympics in the north of Italy - 150 kilometers from Milan in the middle of December 2019. 

"ICSD has decided to grant them a delay until June 30 that they have worked with the Government of the country and then ICSD can officially begin work with ICSD members."

A separate ICSD statement signed by Chen expressed its "deep concern" about events surrounding the arrest of Rukhledev,

"While we are committed to providing you with updates as they come to hand, we also ask for your patience and understanding for due process to take place by the Russian courts and this includes ensuring that Dr Rukhledev’s human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, is respected," it added.

The organisation attempted to alleviate concern over the ICSD's own finances by claiming they "look forward to fulfilling our obligations by submitting our 2017 financial statements for adoption at the next scheduled Congress".

An Extraordinary Congress can be "requisitioned either by the Executive Committee of the ICSD or upon request of at least one-third of full members from at least two two regional confederations, only to discuss specific topics".