The Jokerit supporters’ club of the Helsinki professional hockey team has demanded an indefinite boycott of the team’s home games in the Continental Hockey League (KHL) if a controversial match against Dinamo Minsk takes place in Belarus on Thursday.
The board of the Eteläpääty supporters’ club made a unanimous decision not to participate in the games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki "for now"and urged other supporters ’club members – as well as Jokers fans in general – to join the demonstration.
"Due to the situation in Belarus and human rights violations, we cannot accept playing the match in Minsk," the government wrote in a press release on Wednesday.
The association had originally expressed its hope last week that the team would not be able to travel, and urged the Jokerit management to either change the schedules of the match or hand over the game to the Belarusian side.
Jokers leader Jari Kuri said that despite an attempt to postpone the game, Dinamo Minsk did not want to make any changes to the match.
"We have decided to go to Minsk exceptionally only on the day of the game and leave immediately after the match," Kurri said Monday.
Belarus has seen large-scale demonstrations since the August 9 presidential election Alexander Lukaschenko, widely regarded as the last dictator in Europe.
The street protests that began at the start of the election have continued since the announcement of the results and have become the largest anti-government demonstrations in the country’s history – often violent clashes between authorities and protesters.
The first home game of the Jokerit season is scheduled to take place next Wednesday against Neftehimik Nizhnekamski.
Quelle: Die nordische Seite