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The decision on the Chinese Olympic men’s hockey game is set for November 25

TORONTO –

The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said China’s entry into the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament in Beijing on Tuesday, with a final decision set for May 25. 11 and Norway are waiting for a replacement.

As the host nation, China is guaranteed a spot in every event at the 2022 Olympics but the IIHF in September said the men’s team could be prevented from competing due to “sporting disqualification”.

Fears that China wouldn’t be able to outdo a competitive team had the IIHF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scrambling to find ways to avoid the embarrassment of having to disqualify the host country from the competition or risk having to suffered an equally humiliating defeat. defeat.

With China clearly determined to enter the men’s tournament, the IIHF Council confirmed earlier this month that it would not seek to prevent the host country from competing.

IIHF President, Luc Tardif, countered on Tuesday, saying China’s participation would depend on player eligibility and play regulations of Kunlun Red Star, a football team based in China with Olympic expectations playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

A group of five IIHF observers are in Moscow to watch Kunlun play, then report to the moderators, who will make decisions based on performances as well as which players are actually qualified to represent represent China.

“On this, we are working with the IOC,” Tardif said after speaking at the Primetime Sport management conference in Toronto. “I don’t want to cause a diplomatic earthquake by myself just becoming the new president so we want to make sure we’re on the same page as the IOC and that’s true.

“That would be our (eligibility) rule, and when I say it’s our IOC and IIHF.

“Norway is ready.”

In the first of two matches on Monday, Red Star beat Amur Khabarovsk 4-0 to lose 5-4 in extra time.

The key to China playing in Beijing likely lies in the eligibility requirements that allow players like Red Star striker Brandon Yip, a Chinese-Canadian who spent five seasons in the NHL, named in the list.

China’s restrictive rules on nationality largely prevent it from pursuing players with dual citizenship.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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