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Russian hockey official hails mooted law on foreign players’ quota

August 28, 2014, 13:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The bill envisages granting the Russian Sports Ministry the right of establishing and coordinating the limit of foreign athletes allowed to compete in Russia, who are also referred to as legionnaires
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Executive director of Russia's Hockey Federation Valery Fesyuk

Executive director of Russia's Hockey Federation Valery Fesyuk

© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotayev

MOSCOW, August 28. /ITAR-TASS/. A mooted law regulating quotas for foreign athletes allowed to play for Russian sports clubs will help to resolve all existing disputed between sports federations and leagues, Valery Fesyuk, the executive director of the Hockey Federation of (FHR), said on Thursday.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday that a bill regulating the number of foreign players competing in Russian sports clubs had been drafted and was ready to be submitted for voting with the Russian lawmakers.

“We do not know yet the details of the draft law, but we will welcome its adoption,” Fesyuk told ITAR-TASS. “It will be for the good only since such law can finally put an end to disputes between [sports] federations and leagues.”

The draft law will be submitted with the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, this autumn and may be possibly passed in the final reading next spring.

The bill envisages granting the Russian Sports Ministry the right of establishing and coordinating the limit of foreign athletes allowed to compete in Russia, who are also referred to as ‘legionnaires’. Each sport would have its own limit for attracting legionnaires, according to the bill.

The draft law is also likely to stipulate obligatory criteria for foreign players, including their athletic qualification, age, period of permanent stay in Russia as well as athlete’s period of training in Russia and results achieved while competing for Russian sports clubs.

Commenting further on the mooted law, Fesyuk told an ITAR-TASS correspondent that the FHR “has been always having numerous discussions with the KHL [the Kontinental Hockey League] on the number of foreign players.”

“As we have previously stated, we keep insisting on the number of five foreigners now and the gradual reduction to three by the next [Winter] Olympics,” Fesyuk said. “All players having no right to compete for the national team are considered legionnaires.”

Earlier this month the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) signed an agreement to extend for one more year the Memorandum of Understanding, which stipulates respect for contracts of professional players from the both Leagues, prolonging it until June 30, 2015. The memorandum is primarily aimed at resolution of disputable situations in case of players’ transfer from the one league to the other.

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is an International league, set up in March 2008 to promote the successful development of hockey in Russia and other countries in Europe and Asia. On March 27, 2008 the Hockey Federation of Russia (FHR) officially handed over all rights to stage the national championship to the KHL. The highest ranked Russian team will be proclaimed the Champion of Russia.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America. It is headquartered in New York City and is composed of 30 member clubs: 23 in the United States and 7 in Canada.

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