Former president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) René Fasel.
Moscow – The former president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) René Fasel received Russian citizenship. This was reported by the Interfax agency, according to whose findings the Swiss will be engaged in apple cultivation in Russia.
Fasel acquired a majority stake in Alma Holding, which is co-owned by Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is on sanctions lists of Western countries. The company owns approximately 400 hectares of orchards in the Krasnodar region in the south of Russia.
According to Interfax, the fact that Fasel has acquired Russian citizenship follows from an extract in the commercial register.
Fasel was at the head of world hockey from 1994 to 2021, during which time he was also a member of the International Olympic Committee. During his era, Russia won the right to host the World Cup three times and once, for the first time in history, the Winter Olympics. During his tenure in office, Fasel repeatedly expressed his appreciation to Putin and met him on informal occasions as well, RFE/RL recalled. In 2021, Fasel faced criticism for meeting with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko amid anti-government protests.
Last March, the IIHF tasked its ethics committee with investigating Fasel's comments regarding the war in Ukraine and reviewed whether, as honorary life president of the organization, he had violated the code of the federation. At the time, Fasel expressed regret over the IIHF's decision to exclude Russia and Belarus, which supports the invasion of Ukraine, from the World Cup. He called it one of the saddest moments in its history.
“Even during the Cold War, the Soviet Union played with the United States, with Canada. Even in such a tense situation as today, sports must carry a message of peace and unification people. There were many opportunities to expel someone from the IIHF, because there were many wars in the world, and now we are doing it. It is very sad to hear what people want to do,” said Fasel last year, who was also reported by Russian media at the time as a future adviser to the Kontinental Hockey league (KHL).
The IIHF has not yet informed about the conclusions of the ethics commission's investigation.