UPDATE 1-Ice hockey-KHL game between Finns Jokerit and Dinamo Minsk cancelled amid fan protests
HELSINKI, Sept 3- The Kontinental Hockey League game between Finnish club Jokerit and Belarus’s Dinamo Minsk scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled, the league said, amid fan protests in Finland because of the political crisis in Belarus. Finnish hockey website Jatkoaika said the team had refrained from travelling to Belarus after players received…
HELSINKI, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game between Finnish club Jokerit and Belarus’s Dinamo Minsk scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled, the league said, amid fan protests in Finland because of the political crisis in Belarus.
The KHL awarded Jokerit a technical defeat for having failed to travel to Minsk. The league said earlier on Thursday it would provide the reasons for Jokerit’s absence at a later time.
Prior to the KHL announcement, sources told Finnish news agency STT that Jokerit’s flight to Minsk had been cancelled and that the team would not be playing.
Finnish hockey website Jatkoaika said the team had refrained from travelling to Belarus after players received numerous death threats from there, causing them to fear for their safety. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
The Belarusian Sports Ministry said it was not aware Jokerit had received any threats, the Interfax news agency reported.
The cancellation of the game follows widespread criticism in Finland against the team’s participation amid continued protests in Belarus over a presidential election last month that demonstrators say was rigged.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who is facing the biggest challenge of his 26-year rule after claiming victory in an Aug. 9 election, has denied electoral fraud.
Jokerit were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
The team’s fan club threatened on Wednesday to boycott matches if Jokerit travelled to Belarus. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)
ANA NEWS WIRE Disclaimer:
The African News Agency (ANA) is a news wire service and therefore subscribes to the highest standards of journalism as it relates to accuracy, fairness and impartiality.
ANA strives to provide accurate, well sourced and reliable information across Text, Images and Video. Where errors do appear, ANA will seek to correct these timeously and transparently.
The ANA platform also contains news and information from third party sources. ANA has sought to procure reliable content from trusted news sources but cannot be held responsible for the accuracy and opinions provided by such sources on the ANA platform or linked sites.
The content provided for on the ANA News Wire platform, both through the ANA news operation and via its third party sources, are for the sole use of authorised subscribers and partners. Unauthorised access to and usage of ANA content will be subject to legal steps. ANA reserves its rights in this regard.
ANA makes every effort to ensure that the website is up and running smoothly at all times, however ANA does not take responsibility for, and will not be held liable for times when the website is temporarily unavailable due to technical issues that are beyond our control.