The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland was set to host the 2020 tournament in Zurich and Lausanne, beginning on May 8, however the IIHF Council announced the cancellation on Saturday.

There have been more than 306,000 COVID-19 cases globally, with over 13,000 deaths as the virus continues to disrupt sport.

"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept," said IIHF president Rene Fasel. "The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread.

"The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family."

Finland were preparing to defend their title after reigning supreme in 2019 – the country's first World Championship trophy since 2011.

"We accept this decision of the IIHF Council," said Gian Gilli, general secretary for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organising Committee. 

"But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organising Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues."

 

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