Russia have been stripped of the 2023 Men's Ice Hockey World Championships ©Getty Images

Russia has been stripped of the 2023 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) launching a new bid process.

The IIHF confirmed the decision following the governing body’s latest Council meeting, which was held in Zurich today.

The tournament had been scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg from May 5 to 21 next year.

St. Petersburg is the home city of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The IIHF said the decision to remove the tournament was made out of concern for the "safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media and fans."

The decision follows a similar move to strip Russia of hosting rights for the 2023 World Junior Championships following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and Belarus, who have assisted the invasion, are currently suspended as IIHF members.

"An alternative host for the World Championship will be confirmed during the 2022 IIHF Annual Congress in Tampere, Finland, which will take place during the final week of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship," the IIHF said.

"The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans.

"As was the case with the Council’s earlier decision to withdraw the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship that was to be held in Omsk and Novosibirsk, Russia, the Council expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.

"The IIHF Council prioritised this decision for the April meeting, in order to ensure an alternative hosting option and give the new host enough time to make preparations."

Russia and Belarus are currently suspended as members of the IIHF ©Getty Images
Russia and Belarus are currently suspended as members of the IIHF ©Getty Images

Recent editions of the Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships have been impacted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and politics.

The 2020 World Championships in Switzerland was cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IIHF eventually relented under pressure to remove Belarus as a co-host of the 2021 event, due to a Government clampdown following protests at the controversial Presidential election.

Latvia was later confirmed as the sole hosts of the event.

This year’s World Championships in Finland will not feature Belarus and Russia due to their nation’s suspensions.

Austria and France have been included as replacements.

Prior to the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress in Saint Petersburg last September where Tardif succeeded the long-serving René Fasel, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the IIHF.

Putin had thanked the IIHF for its "constructive cooperation and trust" in awarding Russia the 2023 World Championship and World Junior Championship.