The 2020 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's Ice Hockey World Championship has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the IIHF Council announced on Saturday. The 16-team tournament was scheduled to take place from May 8-24 in Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.
The decision comes after the IIHF canceled the men's ice hockey Division I Group A and Division I Group B tournaments earlier this week. The Women's World Hockey Championships in Canada were also canceled.
"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept," IIHF President Rene Fasel said in a statement. "The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family."
In the IIHF's statement, the federation turned down the possibility of relocating the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to another country. In addition, the IIHF also said the potential scenario of postponing this year's World Championship in Switzerland one year will be discussed within the federation. The obvious complication is the fact that the host countries for the forthcoming IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship are set through 2025.
Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Latvia, Slovakia, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Belarus, Italy, Great Britain, Kazakhstan and the host country, Switzerland, were all of the teams set to compete at this year's World Championship.