The IIHF has confirmed seven players have been suspended for match-fixing ©IIHF

Seven players have been banned from playing in International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) tournaments for nearly two years after they were found guilty of match-fixing.

The players - five from Belarus and two from Russia - have been handed suspensions by the IIHF Disciplinary Board.

Russia's Stanislav Kuchkin and Alexei Ivanov, and Belarusians Pavel Boyarchuk, Vyacheslav Lisichkin, Nikita Ustinenko, who represented Belarus at the 2015, 2016 and 2018 World Championships, Sergei Sheleg and Alexander Syrei have all been banned until June 30 2022.

It comes after the IIHF Disciplinary Board annulled a decision by the Belarus Ice Hockey Association (BIHA) to reduce the suspensions given to five of the seven players last month.

The bans will keep the players out of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, due to be held in Belarus and Latvia but thrown into doubt because of the crisis in the former country, and the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

Nikita Ustinenko is among the players to have been suspended for match-fixing ©Getty Images
Nikita Ustinenko is among the players to have been suspended for match-fixing ©Getty Images

All seven players were involved in Mogilyov's 6-5 victory against Dynamo Molodechno in the Belarus Extraliga Championship on November 12 2019.

They admitted that they had agreed to exert an unlawful influence on the outcome of the game in exchange for illegal remuneration.

The BIHA had last month reduced by five months the suspensions given to Boyarchuk, Kuchkin, Lisichkin, Ustinenko and Sheleg after claiming they had shown remorse and had tried to repair the damage they had done to the sport in the country through actions including organising training sessions for young players and giving anti-doping information at a club’s hockey school.

But the IIHF Disciplinary Board ruled these were "not exceptional expressions of the players’ remorse about their offences, but as usual and necessary attempts to regain confidence and trust in their integrity and loyalty as persons and ice hockey players, in an effort that these activities would allow them to continue their career as professional ice hockey players".

It said the BIHA had "failed to recognise that the manipulation of a competition with the intention to obtain financial benefits from it requires a severe sanction" by attempting to reduce the bans.