International Ice Hockey Federation upholds ban on Russia and Belarus over safety concerns

Russia and Belarus had their appeals rejected by the independent International Ice Hockey Federation Disciplinary Board, as the nations sought to overturn their banishment from IIHF hockey competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.

The IIHF announced in February that it was banning Russia and Belarus from international competitions "until further notice" after the invasion.

"We welcome the decision of the independent IIHF Disciplinary Board, which supports the IIHF Council's decision to disallow the participation of the Russian and Belarusian teams and to withdraw the two World Championship program events that were scheduled to take place in Russia next season," said IIHF president Luc Tardif.

The board ruled that the IIHF's ban on Russia and Belarus was "not a sanction but was a safety policy" and thus the IIHF had the power to implement such a ban.

It also upheld the IIHF's decision to withdraw the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship hosting rights from Russia, again citing safety considerations; as well as the IIHF's ban on Russian on-ice officials and Russian committee members.

The decision is final within the IIHF, but it can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The disciplinary panel's decision remains in effect while under appeal unless the Court of Arbitration for Sport orders otherwise.