Belarus Hockey Leader Resigns Over Ban for Political Threats

The top ice hockey official in Belarus has stepped down after he was banned for five years for threatening players over their political beliefs.
Author:
Publish date:
Baskov

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The top ice hockey official in Belarus has stepped down after he was banned for five years for threatening players over their political beliefs.

The Belarus hockey federation had initially signaled Dmitri Baskov could stay on as president in defiance of Wednesday’s ban, but he told state TV on Friday he was stepping aside to avoid possible further sanctions against the federation if he stayed.

The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled Baskov “abused his position” by trying to influence others to back authoritarian Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Its investigation found evidence he “threatened and discriminated Belarusian athletes because of their political opinion.”

The IIHF previously removed Belarus as host of this year’s men’s world championships after a backlash from sponsors.

Belarus has been in turmoil for more than a year since longtime president Lukashenko, who is a passionate hockey fan, was re-elected in a vote widely seen as rigged and which led to a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_15615646
Play

2022 Olympic Hockey Roster Prediction: Sweden

The Tre Kronor will be repped by savvy veterans at every position and enough skill to go far. Can the Swedes be golden once again?

Kirill Kaprizov
Play

Face-to-Face Meeting Got Kaprizov Deal Done for Guerin, Wild

These complex contract negotiations between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov were crawling closer and closer to training camp, and neither side wanted to cope with such a distraction for the budding star left wing. And then everything came together.

Justus Annunen
Play

Avalanche's Annunen is Ready for North American Adjustment

Justus Annunen had a tough 2020-21 season in Finland, but he has made the move to Colorado and is ready to show why he's regarded as the goaltender of the future for the Avalanche.