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Russia offers to host skating championship instead of Japan

By Maxim Tkachenko, CNN
Putin said Russia "could easily handle all the expenses related to" hosting the World Figure Skating Championship.
Putin said Russia "could easily handle all the expenses related to" hosting the World Figure Skating Championship.
  • Russia submits bid to host 2011 World Figure Skating Championship
  • Finland and the United States also have offered to host
  • The World Figure Skating Championship was scheduled for this week in Tokyo
  • The Japan Skating Federation said it cannot host the event

Moscow (CNN) -- The Russian Figure Skating Federation filed an official bid with the International Skating Union on Tuesday to host the 2011 World Figure Skating Championship, which was canceled following Japan's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Alexander Gorshkov, federation president, told CNN.

"We sent our bid to the union today, and the union has confirmed that it was received," Gorshkov said. "We proposed hosting the championship from April 24 to May 1 -- or some time later at the Union's discretion."

Finland and the United States have also offered to host the tournament, he said. The championship was initially scheduled to take place Monday through Sunday in Tokyo.

"Our Japanese friends can't host the world figure-skating championship, clearly, because of the tragedy that they've suffered," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier Tuesday. "But we could support our Japanese colleagues as well as the International Skating Union by proposing to host this championship here, if, of course, the union would be interested."

The prime minister spoke at his country residence outside Moscow during a televised meeting with Russian Sports and Tourism Minister Vitaly Mutko.

"This event wouldn't be expensive, and we could easily handle all the expenses related to it," Putin said.

"The more so, that there are millions of figure skating fans [in Russia]," he said. "Our people would be happy to see this wonderful show ... We don't insist on anything, but if the International Union needs a helping hand, we would extend it with pleasure."

The union said in a statement on its website Monday that it was evaluating different options to host the championship after the Japan Skating Federation said it must decline hosting the championships given the crisis in the nation. The federation also said it could not host the ISU World Team Trophy, set for April.

"As we all struggle to come to terms with the unimaginable tragedies following the monstrous earthquake of March 11, the ISU reiterates its expressions of grief and sympathy to all those affected by loss of life, injury and loss of homes," the statement said.

"In light of this catastrophe, the consequences on sports events and in particular the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and ISU World Team Trophy become relatively secondary. Nevertheless, it is the ISU's duty to find the best possible solution for a possible rescheduling and relocation of the events taking into account all points of view," the statement said.

The union said several member federations have made "spontaneous proposals" to host the championships, and noted other members may be interested and available.