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PARIS: The 2023 ice hockey world championship will be moved from Russia following its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced on Tuesday.

“Out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans, the IIHF Council has decided to withdraw the hosting rights… from Russia,” it said in a statement.

The federation had already stripped Russia of next year’s junior world championship for the same reason.

“Of course, this decision is not fair, even if there was hope the IIHF management would be more mature and start thinking in the interests of the sport,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Valeri Kamensky, a Russian ice hockey committee member, as saying.

“It’s really a shame that the new president of the organisation, Luc Tardif, starts by killing hockey.

“We have no right to surrender and we have no plans to do so.”

The tournament was awarded to Russia in 2018, and was due to be held from May 5-21, 2023 in Saint Petersburg.

Russia was suspended by the IIHF in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

A replacement host country will be announced during next month’s IIHF annual congress in Finland. Tampere and Helsinki are the two venues for the 2022 event which runs from May 13-29.