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Belarus President: Money invested in ice hockey doesn't produce desired effect

Belarusian athletes need to fight on the ice hockey rink and big bonuses will be given only if high places will be taken at international tournaments. President Alexander Lukashenko demands the return on the money invested in sport. For Belarus, ice hockey is a national sport but players sometimes lack character, the President believes.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Football and ice hockey are mass sports in the majority of countries. These kinds of sports attract millions of people and many do these sports too. In Belarus, this is almost the entire population. If we did make a decision to develop this sport (it is becoming very popular among us and has already become), so let's really do it. A fifth of the money goes to one sport. There is no return. Today ice hockey is the most popular sport. Today it's not a fight, but a battle, especially in ice hockey. But Belarusian players go skating, not playing ice hockey. We are building some strategies like this one: 'Belarus will lose to the strongest teams at the IIHF World Championship but then definitely win the rest of matches.' We must play first. Even against the Canadians, the Russians, and the Swedes. We must play, fight. Even if you lose, but play from your heart, the people will forgive.

SEE: Belarusian ice hockey

The situation in Belarusian ice hockey is constantly being analyzed. Changes are on the way in this sport.

The President connects positive changes with the newly appointed Federation Chairman Semyon Shapiro, who replaced Igor Rachkovsky.

The new head of the ice hockey federation has already proposed his development plan, including non-standard approaches.

Semen Shapiro, Chairman of the Hockey Federation of the Republic of Belarus:
I myself once worked in a children's and youth sports school for football. The coach came, threw us the ball, read the newspaper and we started playing with nobody watching us. Unfortunately, today sometimes the situation is the same, so we suggest installing cameras with live streams available to ministry officials, so that we can at any time check how the training process is going on. And every coach will know that he's watched. And, of course, we need to travel, watch and control coaching work.

Belarus President: Money invested in ice hockey doesn't produce desired effect