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MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. A board of directors of Russia-led Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) reached a final agreement on the controversial issue on the limit of foreign players allowed to play in the league, Viktor Rashnikov, the president of Metallurg ice hockey club, said on Tuesday.
At its extraordinary session on Tuesday in Moscow, KHL directors agreed that players from Belarus and Kazakhstan would be considered legionnaires for the next two years, however, their number in match rosters would be a subject for alterations.
"The decision suits everyone," Rashnikov told journalists after the session. "We will be playing further as we used to, lining up five legionnaires. In order for the clubs to avoid [possible financial] losses we have decided to leave seven [foreign] people, including Belarusians, enlisted in a team, but only five in a roster ahead of each match."
The Russian Sports Ministry issued on August 27 an official decree regulating the number of foreign players allowed to play in the country’s ice hockey clubs and the document came into force the following day.
The Russian Sports Ministry decreed that the number of players, who are ineligible performing for the national team, must not exceed five per club in the KHL. The ministry’s decree also stipulated that each club should have not more than one foreign goaltender.
The sports ministry’s decree did not specify the status of players from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan and whether they would be or would be not qualified in KHL as foreign players, referred to in Russian sports as legionnaires.
Last season they were not considered as legionnaires in KHL and many Belarusian players signed with several clubs in the league, eventually exceeding the allowed number of legionnaires per club.
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan along with Russia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which is a new integration association guaranteeing a number of economic privileges for its member states, including the free movement of workforce.
The Kontinental Hockey League is an international league set up to promote ice hockey in Russia and other European and Asian states. KHL organizes matches of Russian ice hockey championship.