Israel banned from international competition, sue IIHF
Zuma Press  

Israel banned from international competition, sue IIHF




Yesterday the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the governing body of International hockey, announced an indefinite ban on the Israeli Ice Hockey Federation, citing safety and security concerns for the teams at upcoming IIHF events.

"In accordance with IIHF’s duty of care to protect all participants at IIHF Competitions and its obligation to create corresponding health and safety policies, the IIHF Council, within its power found in IIHF Statute has decided to restrict the Israeli National Team from participating in IIHF Championships until the safety and well-being of all participants (including Israeli participants) can be assured," the announcement stated. "The IIHF Council took this decision after careful consideration and based on a risk assessment, discussions with the participating countries and discussions with the Hosts."

According to sources fro, IIHF President Luc Tardiff made the decision himself after "succumbing to external pressures, including Russian voices."

In turn, Israel's sporting minister has announced that the nation will be suing the IIHF for its decision.

"Unfortunately, we are witnessing a precedent-setting and dangerous decision that stinks of antisemitism under the guise of safety for the athletes," said Yael Arad, chairwoman of the Israeli Olympic Committee. "In personal conversations I had with the chairman of the International Federation, I witnessed a disappointing lack of transparency and opacity driven by a hidden agenda that has no place in world sports.

"It is the exclusion of a country as a whole, which, according to the International Olympic Committee, is illegal," calling the IIHF decision "arbitrary. Imagine that there's a Soccer World Championship and FIFA announces that Israel cannot participate. This is a smaller sector, so it's not echoing as loudly, but it's an Olympic sport nevertheless."

Needless to say, this is a hot button issue that's likely to draw criticism from both sides.

To be perfectly frank, I don't have any personal opinion on the matter. I'm willing to bet that the IIHF's concerns for safety are genuine, but then again I wouldn't trust Luc Tardiff as far as I could throw him. This is the same guy who cancelled the 2022 World Junior Championships over just four confirmed cases of COVID-19...

The IIHF under Tardiff has consistently shown an ineptitude of leadership, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is all a mess of Tardiff's own making once again.