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Israel allowed to play in global ice hockey competition; viral claim is outdated | Fact check

The claim: The International Ice Hockey Federation banned Israel from international competitions

A Feb. 21 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a hockey player wearing a blue and white uniform with the Star of David on the sleeve.

"The International Ice Hockey Federation BANS ISRAEL from international competitions," reads the on-screen text above the picture.

Part of the post's caption reads, "Hockey federation is racist."

The post garnered more than 50,000 likes in six days. Similar versions of the claim were shared on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter.

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Our rating: False

The federation initially barred the Israeli team from participating in one of its upcoming international competitions but quickly overturned the decision in January after local officials ensured the players' safety. The decision was reversed more than a month before the post was shared.

Post's claim is out-of-date

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced on Jan. 10 that due to safety concerns regarding its participants, it would be barring the Israeli National Team from participating in its competitions for the time being.

The group said in its announcement that the decision was based on "a risk assessment, discussions with the participating countries and discussions with the hosts."

The federation released a follow-up announcement two days later clarifying that the temporary ban would only apply to the team's participation in Division III, Group B of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship, which was moved from Israel to Bulgaria because of safety concerns. The federation said the team's removal "was not a sanction" against the Israeli Ice Hockey Federation, nor would it affect the country's status as a member of the global body.

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But the federation retracted this decision a few days later after local authorities confirmed security measures would be put in place to protect participating players. The announcement that the Israeli team would be participating in Division III, Group A of the championship was made on Jan. 17, more than a month before the Instagram post was shared.

Several international news outlets reported on the lifted ban, including Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and CBC.

The Israeli team ended up winning a gold medal in the championship division, according to a Jan. 28 press release published by the federation.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel allowed to play in global ice hockey competition | Fact check