Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Russia Rejects New IIHF-NHL Transfer Agreement

In a stunning turn of events, the Russian hockey federation unanimously rejected the IIHL-NHL transfer deal at a Monday meeting. This jeopardizes the NHL's participation in the Olympics, world championships, and even the World Cup. Says IIHF spokesman, Szymon Szemberg:
"Everything between the IIHF and the NHL in the collective bargaining agreement would be void. There would be no NHL participation at the Olympics, at the world championships or a possible World Cup. There would be no transfer agreement."
IIHF president Rene Fasel is planning an emergency trip to Moscow to plead with the Russians to sign the agreement. There is question whether the NHL would ratify the IIHF-NHL Transfer Agreement with Russian disapproval. Says Szemberg:
"If the agreement doesn't happen, if Rene Fasel can't persuade them to change their minds, we will have a chaotic situation on the transfer market."
Using a formula tied to draft order, the new agreement increases the amount of compensation the NHL pays to European federations for signing players in their system. But the Russians want the freedom to negotiate their own transfer deals directly with teams to maximize their compensation. By refusing to sign the new agreement, however, the Russians could go without compensation when they lose a player. Szemberg remains hopeful:
"The Russians are willing to discuss it further so you have to be optimistic. We reached a deal last time. And we have never been without an agreement in recent years. I think reason will prevail and an agreement will be reached."


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