Ice hockey-IIHF dismisses Russia and Belarus appeals against ban

The logo of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is seen in front of its seat in Zurich, Switzerland April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) disciplinary board has dismissed appeals lodged by the Russian and Belarusian associations against the governing body's decision to ban them from competition over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

In February, the IIHF suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participation in every age category. It later moved the 2023 world championships out of St Petersburg due to concerns about the wellbeing of players and officials.

Russia's hosting rights for the 2023 world junior championships were also revoked.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February in what Moscow calls a "special military operation". Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

"The independent IIHF Disciplinary Board has rejected the appeals submitted by the Russian and Belarusian Ice Hockey Federations against the IIHF Council decision," the governing body said in statement on Tuesday.

The IIHF added that its original decision was not a sanction but a "safety policy".

The verdict can be appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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