It has gone from bad to worse recently in Belarus and it’s affecting sports to a large degree. The newest development comes from Dinamo Minsk and its fan club.
In an open letter, the fans have reached out to Dinamo general director Dmitriy Baskov. FPC reached out to the supporters of the team and they were generous enough to share their letter with us in the English language. The original statement was made in Russian.
The following is the statement of Dinamo Minsk Fan Club:
”Public appeal of the members of the “Fan club of the Hockey Club Dinamo-Minsk” to the general director of the Hockey Club Dmitriy Baskov; to the Belarussian Ice-Hockey Federation.
Falsification of elections, the forcible retention of power, violations of the Constitution and the Criminal Code, violence against civilians by security officials – this is all that we have seen in recent days on the streets, in the cities of our country, our capital.
Considering the position of the club’s management reflected in the media, as well as the information posted on the official website on behalf of the club, we declare the following:
We, the members of the HC “Dinamo-Minsk” fan club, declare an indefinite boycott of home games, refusing to organize a home fan sector for them, and refuse to participate in any kind of club and BIHF events.
We are ashamed to identify ourselves with citizens who support the lawlessness of the security forces and the genocide of the Belarusian people.
In order to end our boycott, we want our demands to be fulfilled. Our demands are:
1) Speak publicly with condemnation of violence against civilians by riot police officers in the streets, local police departments, and in temporary detention centers.
2) Come out with public recognition of the need to release detained civilians on the streets of the country and political prisoners.
3) Publicly declare the past elections illegitimate, and call for new elections with an honest and transparent vote count.
We consider these requirements undeniable. If the listed requirements are fulfilled, we will be ready to return to the stands and enter into a dialogue about active participation in the club’s event sphere.”
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Losing their fans could be a big hit for Minsk’s side as they are one of the rare teams that have always had a full building during their home games. Now, this would be one of the nightmares financially for them. A source indicated that due to the ongoing situation in Belarus, the Minsk team could potentially lose one of their main sponsors. Without fans and money, the team will struggle as it has struggled for the past few years. However, there are now suggestions that the team could even be pulled from participating in the KHL.
On top of that, there is also uncertainty about the upcoming IIHF World Hockey Championships that are set to begin in May. Latvia – the co-host of the 2021 event has had its government reach out to IIHF with a request to replace Belarus with a different country and it’s a developing situation. Although IIHF, LHF, and BIHF are standing firmly stating that the events will go on as planned.