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Belarus President bashes national ice hockey team

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting on the development of ice hockey in Belarus. He said this is a truly national sport for Belarus, but players sometimes don't put up a fight and lack morale. A number of topical issues were raised at the meeting. Changes are on the way in this sport. Many of them are associated with the appointment of new chairman of the national ice hockey federation.

The situation in Belarusian ice hockey is ambiguous. This, perhaps, is the most common assessment of the state of affairs in this sport today. On the one hand, there are objective achievements. For example, all three Belarusian ice hockey teams (of different age groups) are the elite divisions of their respective championships. Some have retained a place there, but some won and promoted from lower divisions. On the other hand, if we are talking about the results of the senior national team, in the recent ten years, Belarusians have actually not shown any progress. At least, they do not show such dynamism in development as many other countries like France, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Slovenia do. The list of the strongest teams in the world has expanded significantly lately.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
The results are disgusting. We failed the Olympic qualifying tournament, losing to the Slovenian national team, which does not have world stars. For the second year in a row, we are balancing on the verge of relegation from the IIHF WM elite. We need to play first of all! Even against the Canadians, the Russians, and the Swedes. We must fight. Even if you lose, but play from your heart, the people will forgive you. And when you get out with the game already lost in your head, then you won't be able to even skate. Then prepare the team physically so that players close town and mark world stars preventing them from showing their game.

Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Belarus. No other sport can boast such attention and support from state authorities.

Alexander Lukashenko:
18% of all expenses for physical education and sport, taking into account the means of support from all sources. A fifth of the money goes to one sport. But there is no return! Instead of pride for the colors of their flag the fans are simply outraged after your games.

And most importantly: the salary should be minimal. Players now seem to care more about their status and luxury Mercedeses. But there is no result.

Set a normal salary to the player per game, and add more for good results. And we need to add prizes for the results achieved in the domestic championship. Then they will play here. They all - from Zakharov to the ordinary hockey player - do not think about anything but their salary. They have green eyes, look, they all have green eyes. No brown or blue eyes, just green. But we do not mind paying. But why pay for such performances?

The Belarusians have recently got the right to host the IIHF WM. Once again after 2014 Belarus will host it together with Latvia in 2021. The main advantage of the Belarusian application is successful organization management and the interest of fans. The present infrastructure is quite enough to host world championships.

Alexander Lukashenko:
It was the Belarusian people and Minsk who brought this World Championship here. If it were not for 2014 we would not show that we can hold the world championships better than any country, which I once promised to Mr René Fasel. I can open one secret for you. On the eve of voting, two weeks prior to it, those who personify this championship offered me to give up the fight and give the victory to Finland. I strongly rejected this idea. If we agreed with the Latvians, so we must fight, I thought. Therefore, think about what gift you give to the Belarusian people in 2021.

Semyon Shapiro was elected to the post of chairman of the Ice Hockey Federation several days ago after the ex-leader Igor Rachkovsky resigned. Rachkovsky explained the decision by the fact that 13th place at the world championships is not the result the team needed. The tasks for the new chairman are not easy. On the eve of 2021, it is necessary to act decisively and quickly. Therefore, many decisions taken on May 25 are relevant for the coming season. The main areas of work are obvious: the national team and its reserves, Belarusian club Dinamo Minsk and children's and youth ice hockey as well as the domestic hockey championship. A plan of action for the development of ice hockey designed to run until 2021 was proposed.

Semen Shapiro, Chairman of the Hockey Federation of the Republic of Belarus:
If someone can think today that the state program means only money, this is not quite so. Because our country has already built a lot of ice hockey infrastructure. Today the main direction in this program is of organizational and methodical nature.

SEE: How to reform Belarusian ice hockey after 2017 IIHF WM failure?

Belarus President bashes national ice hockey team