More than six weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a series of "provisional measures" against Belarus.
The sanctions came after the IOC found there was merit to the worrying allegations that athletes had been tortured, beaten and arrested for speaking out or participating in demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko amid a heavy-handed Government crackdown following his disputed re-election in August.
In a statement on December 7, the IOC requested "all constituents of the Olympic Movement to respect these measures in the interest of protecting Belarusian athletes’ rights and the reputation of the Olympic Movement."
While the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was not named specifically, it was clearly among those the IOC hoped to hammer home the message to.
The IIHF, at the time, was still planning on holding its World Championship in Minsk this year. The city had been due to co-host the tournament with Latvia, before ice hockey’s worldwide governing body decided - rather belatedly - that Belarus was not a suitable location for the event after all.
The IIHF took far too long to make what looked to everyone, seemingly except senior officials at the organisation, to be the obvious decision.
The spark for Monday’s (January 18) announcement appeared to be the threat from sponsors - German motor oil manufacturer Liqui Moly, car manufacturers Skoda and body care brand Nivea Men - that they would withdraw their support for the event if it went ahead in Minsk.
If sponsors had stayed quiet, it is feasible we would still be waiting for the "unavoidable" decision, as the IIHF called it.
This does not detract from the relentless campaigning from the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), which backed up its calls for Minsk to be stripped of the event with hard evidence, but it is surely not a coincidence that confirmation from the IIHF came merely hours after the sponsors had threatened to pull their vital backing.
That is a damning indictment of the IIHF, yet it is not surprising in the commercial and money-driven world of sport we all inhabit.
Throughout the entire process, the IIHF and its President René Fasel, who said the IOC "cannot influence in any way" the decision on Belarus’ co-staging of the Championship, demonstrated a concerning reluctance to ultimately do the right thing.
The Championship could - should - have been stripped from Belarus weeks ago. Doing so would have been beneficial to all parties, including the IIHF, which has reduced the amount of time it has to select another venue by delaying the decision.
Yes, there is a procedure to follow, although I doubt that includes cosying up to Lukashenko and being pictured with a senior Belarusian ice hockey official who is accused of involvement in the murder of a demonstrator in Minsk.
Of course, Fasel, a member of the IOC and a trusted ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is not the first to be seen to be too close to a man like Lukashenko, who is widely believed to have rigged his way to another term as President.
This is a trend littered throughout the Olympic Movement, where administrators are often reticent to criticise or castigate a leader for human rights abuses who they may need to hold one of their events further down the line.
Some might argue such an approach is sensible and merely politics and diplomacy in action, but it nevertheless can send completely the wrong message.
"The IIHF’s hesitation in making the decision to transfer the Championship from Belarus has almost led to bringing ice hockey into disrepute as the very sport expressing support and friendship to the dictator oppressing Belarusian people," the BSSF said.
The rigmarole which eventually led to the IIHF moving the event from Belarus, a nation gripped by crisis for nearly six months, is also symptomatic how slow the wheels turn when it comes to decision-making in sport and the Olympic Movement.
The IOC itself has been guilty of this in recent months. The accusations made by the BSSF and other Belarusian groups were made almost immediately after Lukashenko won a vote described as "neither free nor fair" in August, yet it took until early December for meaningful sanctions to be imposed.
The IOC had earlier faced criticism for the way it handled the "will they, won’t they" debate on Tokyo 2020 going ahead last summer as planned. Its President Thomas Bach and other high-ranking officials were adamant it would happen, and a few weeks later the first postponement of an Olympic Games was announced.
I also recall the IOC’s doyen Richard Pound in 2019 describing the process to choose new sports for Paris 2024 as "overkill", a view many agreed with. The four sports - breakdancing, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding - were put forward by the Organising Committee, approved by the Olympic Programme Commission and then the Executive Board before they arrived in front of the Session.
Last year, several Federations, to coin a phrase of one of my old football coaches, dilly-dallied their way to deciding to hold elections and Congresses virtually – despite it being clear early on that in-person gatherings would be impossible amid the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent halt to international travel across the world.
It is also true of criminal proceedings related to sport. Swiss investigations into corruption at FIFA are moving so slowly you would be forgiven for thinking they are going backwards, while sentences given to disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations President Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata were years in the making.
When it comes to the IOC and the IIHF, in the end they reached the correct outcome, albeit later than they perhaps should have, and both deserve credit for that.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) and the European Cycling Union are among the sports bodies facing similar calls on Belarus as the country is due to host their flagship events in the coming months.
Minsk is scheduled to hold the World Modern Pentathlon Championships from June 7 to 13 and the European Track Cycling Championships between June 23 and 27.
The BSSF has already written to the UIPM demanding its event be moved from Belarus and expect the UEC to come under pressure to follow suit. They simply have no excuse not to.