Statement of Peter Stastny, Member of European Parliament
After the brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrators and opposition leaders in 2010, when the oppresive regime of Alexander Lukashenka affirmed its dictatory and non-democratic nature, the European Union and the whole democratic world had to react. A wave of condemnation and sanctions has arisen, including an effort to move the World Championship to another country. This effort comes out from the parliamentary resolutions of the EU, USA, Canada and other countries. I fully respect this decision from the elected representatives of almost a billion citizens. I believe, that the removal of the Championship from the Lukashenka´s regime can significantly assist in the initiation of dialogue with the opposition, and to installing democracy in Belarus.
I understand that IIHF finds itself in a difficult situation. It tries to be apolitical. However that is impossible in this case, as Alexander Lukashenka uses the 2014 IIHF Championship as a tool to prove to people inside the country as well as abroad, that the situation in Belarus is in good order. We all know that this is not true and that the best for the IIHF and for sport in general would be to choose another country for the Championship. This would also avoid damage to the reputation of hockey. It is always better to comply with the intentions of the democratic world than to accommodate (albeit inadvertently) the last European dictator.