International Ice Hockey Federation to Exclude Russian and Belarusian Teams for the 2024/25 Season
Russian and Belarusian national and club hockey teams will not be allowed to participate in tournaments for the upcoming season, as announced on the IIHF official website.
The organization has concluded that the return of Russian and Belarusian teams and national teams "is currently unsafe". Thus, Russia and Belarus will not play in the 2024 World Championship, and Belarus will also be unable to participate in the qualification for the 2026 Olympic Games, where it was placed in the same group as Ukraine.
"Today, during one of its regular meetings, the IIHF Council considered the current safety risks associated with the return of Russian and Belarusian national and club teams to participate in IIHF competitions. Based on a thorough analysis, the IIHF Council concluded that the return of the Russian and Belarusian teams to participate in IIHF competitions is currently unsafe. Thus, Russia and Belarus will not participate in IIHF competitions for the 2024/2025 season. This decision also applies to the Belarusian team regarding the Final Olympic Qualification Round, which will be played in August 2024," the organization's statement said.
It is worth noting that Belarus was supposed to be placed in Group D, where Slovakia, Kazakhstan, and the lowest-rated pre-qualification winner, Ukraine, will play. Thus, Ukrainians will have a different opponent in the Olympic qualification group, whose name will be determined later.
For Russia and Belarus, this is the third suspension from international hockey competitions. After the start of the full-scale war, the IIHF first suspended these teams for the 2022/23 season, and then for the 2023/24 season.
At the same time, the organization announced that it will continue to monitor the situation. A decision regarding Russia and Belarus' participation in the 2025/26 season will be made in May 2025, prior to the annual IIHF Congress.
Earlier, The Gaze reported that the organizers of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris unveiled the gold, silver, and bronze medals that will be awarded to winners and participants. A unique feature of these medals is that each of them contains a metal fragment from the Eiffel Tower, as reported on the Olympic website.
The gold medals for the future Olympic Games weigh 529 grams and are made not of pure gold but of silver coated with 6 grams of gold. Silver medals weigh 525 grams, and bronze medals weigh 455 grams and are made of a copper, tin, and zinc alloy.