INL and Elite A to merge?

INL and Elite A to merge?

24 Jun 2014 | Krišjānis Koļesņičenkovs

FISG wants to remove their clubs from foreign leagues besides Bolzano, ÖEHV is not pleased.


The Inter-National League, the second level of Austrian hockey under the EBEL which has clubs from both Italy and Slovenia will be entering its third season. The news started when the league would of been reduced to 14 clubs when it was confirmed HC Merano would not be able to compete. However, two Austrian clubs stepped up from the NAHL in those being EC Kitzbühel, who were the Champions of the league and HC Steelers Kapfenberg pushing the league up to 16 clubs, six from Austria, six from Slovenia and four from Italy.

On Friday, 20.June, the FISG (Italian Federation) announced they were removing their clubs from foreign league unless the league they are playing in was at a higher level than of the Elite A, saving HC Bolzano from having to return after they won the EBEL Championship. They would take the clubs playing in the INL and place them into the Elite A, merging the Elite A with Serie A2 to increase the number of clubs in their top flight league, as well as reducing the number of imports in the league. However, in order to do this, the FISG would have to break their agreement with the ÖEHV, which they signed for three years to see its clubs compete in the INL. 

Sunday in Innsbruck, Austria, the ÖEHV invited the Italian Federation to discuss this situation, the ÖEHV has now threaten to take legal matters on the FISG if they do indeed break the agreement. It has been reported that the FISG is starting to get really worried about the status of their top level league, three of the clubs, in those being Milano Rossoblu, HC Asiago and HC Valpellice, either dont want to compete in the league anymore or simply no longer can. In the case of Milano, they are still trying to move into the EBEL, and with the rumours around Olimpija Ljubljana, they may just get their wish very soon. For Asiago and Valpellice, they have been against the decrease in the import numbers, Valpellice is likely to be gone with the lack of any kind of local program. The loss of these clubs would mean that Elite A is down to just five clubs and taking back the INL clubs would push them back up to nine, the five remaining clubs in the Elite A are SV Ritten, SHC Fassa, WSV Sterzing, HC Pustertal and SG Cortina.

The ÖEHV has proposed two options for the FISG, the five remaining clubs from Elite A are free to join in on the INL, pushing the league up to 21 clubs with similar rules to how Serie A2 has been run. As well, if any of those three clubs would like to join the league, they are of course welcome, pushing the league to a max of 24 for atleast this season.
The second option is that the INL keeps its current four Italian clubs, however, the ÖEHV will schedule it so they are also able to compete in the Elite A at the same time, this way, the INL wont lose so many clubs in one off-season, and the Elite A still gets its increase to nine clubs.

A decision should be made within the coming days or weeks.

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