MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) voiced on Wednesday its support of the national men ice hockey team’s decision to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang under a neutral status.
"The KHL Board of Directors has expressed its support for the decision of the Russian national ice hockey team to participate in the Olympic Games in PyeongChang under a neutral flag and also wished success at the quadrennial tournament to all KHL players representing their respective national teams," the KHL announced in its statement.
The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018. The Russian national men ice hockey team was placed in Group B alongside with the teams from the United States, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.
The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to determine Russian athletes, who will have the right to go to 2018 PyeongChang under the neutral status.
On Tuesday, the IOC Disciplinary Commission ruled to ban for life six players from the Russian national women’s ice hockey team citing violations of anti-doping regulations at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The world’s governing Olympic body stated that based on the findings of the IOC’s Commission led by Denis Oswald six Russian ice hockey players, Inna Dyubanok, Ekaterina Lebedeva, Ekaterina Pashkevich, Anna Shibanova, Ekaterina Smolentseva and Galina Skiba, were subjected to sanctions.