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Latvia Wants New Co-host for 2021 IIHF championship — Federation Focus



(ATR) The government of Latvia still wants to co-host the 2021 IIHF World Championship but not with Belarus.

Belarus protests began after the Aug. 9 presidential election. (Wikipedia)

In a letter to the International Ice Hockey Federation, Latvia requested that another country step in and co-host due to the ongoing political unrest in Belarus, TASS reports.

The letter also said that Latvia would pull out of co-hosting if the situation continues and the IIHF “does not take the respective decisions” in removing Belarus as a co-host.

Last month, Latvian prime minister Krisjanis Karins warned that the country could consider withdrawing from co-hosting the tournament.

The IIHF is expected to address the situation at its next council meeting on Sept. 17. IIHF president Rene Fasel has said that the federation is monitoring the situation but there are no plans to move the tournament at this time.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the 2019 European Games opening ceremony in Minsk. (Belarus NOC)

The protests in Belarus have continued since the disputed August 9 presidential election, where Alexander Lukashenko supposedly won re-election with 80 percent of the vote.

The European Union is among those to have condemned the election, stating it was “neither free nor fair”. The EU is reportedly planning to impose sanctions on the country.

Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus for 26 years and is considered Europe’s last dictator. He told Russian media on Tuesday that he would not step down.

The 2021 IIHF World Championship is scheduled for May 21 – June 6 with Riga, Latvia and Minsk, Belarus each hosting one group and two quarterfinal games. Minsk Arena, the same venue used when Minsk had the 2014 edition, is scheduled to host the semifinals and medal matches.

IF Gender Equality Webinar Series Opens

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 5th IF Gender Equality Forum but a series of online sessions has taken its place.

The IF Gender Equality Webinar Series opened on Tuesday with the first two of six scheduled sessions.

Like the Forum, the webinars are being hosted by the IOC in collaboration with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF).

Marisol Casado (ITU)

The IOC says the first two sessions were attended virtually by about 200 people, including IF presidents, executive board members, secretaries general, chief executives, committee members and development managers.

Tuesday’s sessions were intended to increase female representation in governing bodies and improve women’s representation in decision-making positions.

Marisol Casado, IOC Member and Chair of the ASOIF Diversity and Gender Equality Group, opened the webinar by saying: “Today there is a wide-ranging call for greater inclusivity and equality, and we must take the opportunity this current crisis provides to rebuild and innovate our progress towards a more inclusive, gender-equal and sustainable Olympic Movement.”

Future webinars will cover topics including leadership of coaches and technical officials, safeguarding, and removing gender bias from all aspects of portrayal.

Three Years Until Rugby World Cup 2023

New logo for Rugby World Cup 2023 (World Rugby)

France marked the three years to go mark until the Rugby World Cup 2023 with the launch of the “We Love 2023 Tour” and a new brand identity.

The tour will visit 24 cities across France from Sept. 8 to Oct. 12 in a “uniquely branded train”.

The France 2023 organizing committee says the flagship tournament will be the most socially responsible and sustainable rugby event ever.

“France 2023 has embraced a vision: to have a positive impact for rugby, the planet and France by delivering a responsible event that addresses the challenges of today and tomorrow,” France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher said at the launch. “Rugby World Cup 2023 will be more than a sporting event. It will leave a legacy.”

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said “we are confident that France 2023 will deliver on its pledges.

“There is much to look forward to. I have never seen a nation so well prepared as France with three years to go until a Rugby World Cup.”

Homepage photo: IIHF

Written by Gerard Farek

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Rugby: England coach Eddie Jones reveals his strange tactic ahead of Rugby World Cup win over All Blacks



The England team face the haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup semifinal against the All Blacks. Photosport/INPHO

England rugby coach Eddie Jones has revealed he used a samurai sword and kiwifruit to inspire his side ahead of their 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinal win over the All Blacks.

England denied the All Blacks a shot at a third straight World Cup title when they outperformed New Zealand to win 19-7 in Yokohama. Jones’ team went on to lose the final to the Springboks, his second World Cup final defeat as a coach.

The Telegraph have shared a chapter from Jones’ latest book – Extracts from Leadership: Lessons from my life in rugby by Eddie Jones which explains the lengths he went to to inspire his side before that win over Steve Hansen’s team.

Before the clash, the All Blacks had won six straight games against England. Jones says it wasn’t a rousing speech but a simple act involving an expensive samurai sword and a piece of fruit.

“People might expect that, before we beat the All Blacks, I would have made a defining, tub-thumping speech of leadership to inspire an exceptional performance. I was, instead, pretty low-key and measured that evening.

The England team face the haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup semifinal against the All Blacks. Photosport/INPHO
The England team face the haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup semifinal against the All Blacks. Photosport/INPHO

“But, three days earlier, on the Wednesday, I felt we weren’t quite there in training. We weren’t sharp enough for the All Blacks. So I did something different that evening. I brought a samurai sword into the team room. It was impressive and authentic and I had spent a fair amount of money on it from an antique shop in Tokyo. I also brought in some kiwi fruit. You could say it was cheesy, rather than fruity, but I used the samurai sword to scythe them in two. The blade was so sharp that the kiwi fruits split apart in an instant.

“‘There you go, boys,’ I said. ‘See how we do it now?’

“The players were laughing but a few of them shot me a look as if to say, ‘S—, this guy is nuts.’ I still walked around the room with the samurai sword and made them all feel the deadly blade.”

Jones reveals in the book they then come up with the idea do something different when facing the haka.

“From there we developed the idea of facing down the haka in a V formation with Owen Farrell at the head of it. We also had a very rigorous meeting with the players’ leadership group the next morning and I pointed out some of the minor problems. The players addressed them and got it right. We won the game.

“If we had lost, people would have been entitled to say: ‘How stupid was all that stuff with the samurai sword?’ But it makes a good story and we can say we brought out the sword and a small tray of kiwi fruit before one of England’s most famous victories.”

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Rugby World Cup a tonic for RA’s struggles | Central Western Daily



Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos has promised the sport’s chance to reset and prosper won’t be missed after the country all but landed the hosting rights for the 2027 World Cup. Australia was listed on Thursday by rugby’s governing body as the “preferred candidate” to host the global tournament, in what effectively ended a two-horse race with the United States. The event – which Australia hosted in 1987 and 2003 – is being regarded as a “once-in-generation” opportunity for a financially stricken sport that contemplated a return to amateur status last year. “Absolutely, it really will (move RA out of the red); it’s going to be a game-changer for us, both on and off the field,” Marinos said. “It’s hugely significant; it gives us a pathway, optimism and an ability to reset the commercial landscape when you look at the opportunities ahead.” Australia will host England in a Test series next year before the 2023 World Cup in France and an Australian British & Irish Lions tour in 2025. The likely 2027 World Cup will be followed by an Olympic Games on home soil in 2032 in Brisbane. “The focus is going to be on this part of the world, it’s a fantastic opportunity to latch on to,” Marinos said. Profit from the 2003 World Cup was north of $40 million, but fast forward to April this year and RA was reporting a net deficit of $27.1 million. That came after the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to destroy the game domestically, with Rugby Australia resorting to JobKeeper payments and saving almost $10 million in staff costs through redundancies. At the time RA chairman Hamish McLennan admitted talk of returning to amateur status had been considered. Acknowledging the lessons of the past, Marinos on Thursday stated RA had an obligation to set up rugby union long-term in Australia. “That’s been at the forefront of the board’s mind from the inception,” he said. “This isn’t about getting a windfall and propping up artificially for a short-term gain.” He also hoped the prospect of playing at a home World Cup would entice more talent – across all sports – to remain on Australian shores. “It’s going to make a lot of the players playing abroad rethink and any thinking of going abroad,” he said. “It’s a huge incentive to play in a World Cup on home soil, it’s a unique experience. “Not only that but you’re talking about the 13, 14-year-olds that have an aspirational pathway now, across all the codes.” Australian Associated Press


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Australia named ‘preferred candidate’ to host 2027 Rugby World Cup | Rugby World Cup



Australia has been given an effective green light to stage the 2027 men’s Rugby World Cup after being listed by the governing body as the “preferred candidate” to host the global tournament.

In a new approach to the hosting selection process, the World Rugby council has created a ‘preferred candidate’ phase, effectively giving Australia the go-ahead to work with the governing body to host the event for the first time since 2003.

England was given similar backing on Wednesday to host the 2025 women’s Rugby World Cup.

Australia had been in a contest with the United States to stage the 2027 men’s event but the council has effectively ruled out any duel by now indicating that the 2031 event is likely to go the US.

The council said an “exclusive targeted dialogue” would continue with the US in regard to hosting the 2031 tournament and also a women’s edition at some point in the future.

The final hosting rights will be awarded by the council in May next year, World Rugby added, but Wednesday’s decision effectively means Australia can forge ahead with its plans for one of the world’s biggest sports events.

Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan declared: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we’re now closer than ever before to making that dream a reality. Game On for Australia 2027.”

The announcement comes six months after Australia formally launched its bid, which sparked a series of community events across the country, with current Wallabies being involved.

The 2027 event is projected to attract more than two million people across seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate a $2.5bn boost for the economy.

Organisers say it will create 13,300 jobs and stimulate $500m in new trade and investment.

McLennan added: “This is an exciting opportunity to shape a tournament which will continue the growth of our great game across Australia, the Pacific and globally and showcase our country to the world.

Federal Mminister for sport Richard Colbeck said Australia had another opportunity to “showcase our strength as an international host” and added that the tournament would “provide enormous economic benefits to our nation”.

World Rugby chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, said in a statement: “The new approach to electing Rugby World Cup hosts is more flexible and collaborative.”

World Rugby, he said, would be “working with potential hosts to optimise … proposals and align them with long-term social and economic development plans for the benefit of their communities and the future expansion of the sport.”

The next women’s Rugby World Cup was postponed until next year in New Zealand due to Covid-19.

The next men’s tournament will be held in France in 2023 with the Wallabies set to play on home soil again in the 2027 edition – 24 years since the hosts reached the 2003 final in Sydney.

It promises to be an exciting period for the sport in Australia, with a British & Irish Lions tour there in 2025 with the World Cup in 2027 being a prelude to an Olympics in Brisbane in 2032.

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