(Reuters) – The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) will decide next month on China’s participation in the men’s event at the Beijing Winter Olympics after a review of player eligibility documents, having previously expressed concerns about the team’s quality.
As the host nation, China is guaranteed a spot in every event at the 2022 Games but the IIHF said in September that the men’s team could be prevented https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/china-olympic-mens-hockey-decision-set-nov-25-2021-11-16 from playing due to its “insufficient sporting standard”.
IIHF president Luc Tardif had said China’s participation would hinge on player eligibility rules and the performance of the Kunlun Red Star, a China-based team stocked with Olympic hopefuls competing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
A final decision was set for Nov. 25 — the deadline for the Chinese Ice Hockey Association to submit requested eligibility documents — with Norway waiting in the wings to step in as a replacement.
However, the IIHF said on Friday the Chinese national team’s status remains unchanged until they review documents.
“During a meeting on Nov. 26, the IIHF Council received a report from the expert group assigned to review all potentially eligible players that might be included on the Chinese men’s national team roster,” an IIHF spokesperson told Reuters.
“The council was also presented with the most up-to-date eligibility documents from the Chinese Ice Hockey Association concerning the players that were included in its long list.
“These documents, together with the expert evaluation report, will be reviewed over the coming weeks before the council reconvenes to determine further actions. The status of the Chinese men’s national team is unchanged.”
The council’s next meeting is on Dec. 6. The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 4-20.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)