On Monday, the steering committee of the World Hockey Championship considered preliminary options for admitting spectators to the World Hockey Championship games in Riga, but no decisions have been made yet, LETA told Ministry of Education and Science (MES) Deputy State Secretary, Director of the Sports Department Edgars Severs.
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The Steering Committee examined Latvian Hockey Federation (LHF) scenarios for the admission of spectators to live games. There were no decisions on the proposed options in the committee, because the existing regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers does not provide for the admission of spectators to sports games. Severs reminded that on-site viewers will be possible only if the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in the country and the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers allow it.
The LHF offered that viewers be provided with Covid-19 testing indoors. Saliva express tests would be used for testing. The proposed concept provided for the creation of separate entrances to the arena areas, marked chairs, spectators should wear face masks and observe a distance of two meters. Thus, it was planned to admit 2,660 spectators to the “Arena Riga”, and 1,058 spectators to the Olympic Center.
At the same time, the LHF thinks how spectators at the hockey games could feel in the fresh air, but no decisions were made on this issue either, because the current regulation does not provide for gathering opportunities. The LHF offered that spectators could watch hockey games in the fresh air, at a distance and in a limited area with tickets. As one of the options was offered Daugava a stadium with outdoor seating and a large screen for watching games.
The Steering Committee assessed and supported the LHF’s first financial request for the organization of the hockey championship. A financial request of EUR 1.043 million was sent by the committee Ministry of Finance for approval. Severs reminded that the state has reserved 3.7 million euros for the organization of the World Hockey Championship.
International Hockey Federation (IIHF) informed the Steering Committee of the work on the Covid-19 security protocol. Severs stated that the IIHF, for its part, had reviewed and approved the security protocol, but that an assessment was still needed. Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The next meeting of the steering committee will be more specific about the Covid-19 security protocol for the championship.
Severs revealed that a new anthem is being created for the men’s world hockey championship, with a band working on it “Astro’n’outHe noted that the band could soon present their performance.
The construction of the premises for the World Championship in the Olympic Center is also taking place in rapid steps. According to Severa, all connections have been made in the center and the most important needs have been arranged. The work at the Olympic Center is on schedule. At the same time, the builders at the Daugava Stadium are convinced that they will be able to put the building into operation by April 30. It is also planned to freeze the ice in the stadium on April 27 or April 28.
The next meeting of the Steering Committee will take place on 28 April at 1 p.m. It is also planned to participate Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV).
LETA has already reported that at the beginning of March, the government supported the allocation of up to 3.7 million euros from contingency funds to cover the costs of organizing the World Hockey Championships for men. From the state budget program “Contingency Funds” up to 3,609,736 euros have been allocated to the MES and for transfer to the LHF, while up to 90,264 euros have been allocated Ministry of the Interior.
The total cost of organizing the entire championship will be 12 million euros, as well as an additional two million euros have been reserved by the IIHF to meet the requirements of the Covid-19 safety protocol for the championship.
It is also reported that the IIHF Council voted to approve Riga as the sole organizer of the 2021 World Hockey Championship. This year’s World Championship was to be hosted by Minsk and Riga, but on January 18, at the IIHF Council meeting, the Belarusian capital was deprived of the rights of the organizers of the championship.
It is planned to host the tournament in 2022 for Finland (Helsinki and Tampere), in 2023 for Russia (St. Petersburg), in 2024 for the Czech Republic (Prague and Ostrava), and in 2025 for Sweden and Denmark.
The 2021 World Championships are scheduled for May 21 to June 6. The championship was previously scheduled to start on May 7, but was postponed for a couple of weeks as national championships in Europe could be delayed.
Riga has hosted the World Championships for the only time so far in 2006.