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ISU seeks new host for figure skating worlds

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland – Accepting that Tokyo could not host the World Figure Skating Championships next week, the sport’s governing body stepped up efforts Monday to find a new venue and dates for its marquee event.

The International Skating Union is expected to announce a backup plan this week after giving up hopes – initially shared with Japanese organizers – to proceed as planned after Tokyo’s Yoyogi stadium escaped damage in Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Instead, the ISU made the inevitable ruling – backed by federations including the United States, Canada and France – to postpone the March 21-27 worlds, and the World Team Trophy scheduled to be held in Yokohama on April 14-17.

ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta said it took account of “critical developments” in Japan, including emergencies at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

“The ISU’s primary concern (is) for the safety of all participants, spectators and members of concerned entities as well as the travel … ,” Cinquanta said.

The ISU declined to name candidates or the guarantees it seeks.