(Reuters) - The Ice Hockey World Championships scheduled for Switzerland in May have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said on Saturday.
"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept," IIHF President Rene Fasel said in a statement.
"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."
The event had been scheduled for May 8-24 in Zurich and Lausanne.
Finland won last year, defeating Canada 3-1 in the final held in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The matter of postponing the championship is a matter to be discussed as host countries have been fixed until 2025, the IIHF said.
Along with the championships, the federation said its annual congress, which was scheduled for Zurich from May 21-23, had also been postponed.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Christian Radnedge and Jason Neely)