Big troubles in Ukranian hockey (updated)

Big troubles in Ukranian hockey (updated)

24 Nov 2021 | Daniel B., Davide Tuniz

At the height of a conflict with clubs, the Federation pushed Donbas and Kramatorsk out of the League. Mariupol and Biliy Bars leave the League as sign of solidariety


Today, with a short release, the Ukranian Hockey Federation (FHU) announced the expulsion of HC Donbas and HC Kramatorsk from the Ukraine Hockey League (UHL) with immediate effect. At the moment Donbas is the leader of the UHL, while HC Kramatorsk is in the fifth position

"The Disciplinary Committee of the Hockey Federation of Ukraine decided to remove the clubs Donbas and Kramatorsk from the participants of the regular championship of the Ukrainian Hockey League.The reason is that the clubs violated the FHU regulations three times, alligning suspended hockey players in the game Donbas - Kramatorsk played yesterday"

Donbas later published a stement on its website, calling the decision "illegal", pointing out  that "excluding Donbas from participants in the Ukrainian ice hockey championship, FHU causes irreparable harm to the development of the entire Ukrainian ice hockey."

A couple of hours after the release from the Federation, HC Mariupol and Biliy Bars Bila Tserkva announced the clubs won't play anymore in the League with immediate effect as "a sign of solidarity with other Ukrainian clubs"

This measure arrives at the culmination of a conflict between the two clubs, controlled by the powerful Boris Kolesnikov, and the Federation, which began during the international break in mid-November, when Donbas recalled 7 players called up for the national team to Budapest, where they played a EIHC tournament. Kramatorsk did the same with its captain Pavel Taran. Striker Vitaly Lyalka was the only one to "disobey" the club's orders, staying with the national team, and was immediately sacked by Donbas.

On November 16, the FHU suspended all the players involved. Despite the suspension, all the players were used by Kramatorsk, (in the matches against MHC Sokil and Bilyy Bars) and by Donbas (in the matches against Kherson and Kremenchuk). This brought the two clubs two consecutive technical defeats, by the decision of the FHU Disciplinary Committee, according to the regulations. The same Federation released a statement stressed the desire to keep the clubs in the League: In view of FHU's desire not to compromise the championship and to keep it in its current form, the FHU Disciplinary Committee decided not to eliminate the rebel clubs after a repeated breach, as required by Article 40 of the FHU Disciplinary Code. We hope that these clubs will begin to meet the regulatory requirements. Each of us should learn to act within the legal limits, in the interest of the national team and Ukrainian hockey. Otherwise, the Ukrainian Hockey Federation will have to impose sanctions, which which will mean international isolation both for the clubs taken separately and for the hockey players and the coaches who represent them ".

Donbas reacted with a release questioning the authority of the Federation:

"According to the existing agreements, the Donbass hockey club requires the FHU to adopt a new charter, to make a decision at the FHU General Congress to reorganize the FHU from a public organization into a public union, which will include all 8 professional clubs;holding conferences in the regions with the participation of professional hockey clubs and other hockey entities - legal entities, creating regional associations that will elect their leaders on a democratic basis;the admission of regional associations to the permanent members of the FHU - public union;the appointment of an extraordinary congress with the participation of delegates from the newly created regional associations and the election of the President of the renewed FHU. HC Donbas will seek a fair decision on the fact of illegal appropriation by FHU of 50 percent of the share of the authorized capital of LLC "Ukrainian Hockey League". The Donetsk club will apply to the International Ice Hockey Federation, as well as the International Olympic Committee with a request for a detailed study of the activities of the FHU for the year. Continuing to defend its rights, HC Donbas will make every effort to establish the democratic rules adopted by the International Ice Hockey Federation in the Ukrainian hockey community. " 

Also HC Kramatorsk, with less aggressive tones, said the club disagreed with the federation decision:

"We cannot agree with the decision of the FHU Disciplinary Committee to suspend a key player from our hockey team. Pavel Taran is an employee of a hockey club, any obstruction of the labor obligations should be seen as a gross violation of the labor relationship between the hockey player and the club. HC Kramatorsk is an institution that works exclusively within the framework of Ukrainian legislation. FHU's demands to suspend Kramatorsk player Pavel Taran from participating in all hockey matches involves violation of the rights of the hockey player on the side of the club. HC Kramatorsk has no legal grounds for the dismissal of a Club employee who has not committed offences within the framework of the operating championship of Ukraine in which our team is participating. It is impossible to understand the motives of the Hockey Federation of Ukraine, which has no dialogue with clubs and makes such unilateral decisions. "

Despite the technical defeats, both clubs have lined up all the suspended players in the game played yesterday between them, in what appeared to be a clear challenge to the Federation's provisions. After the game, significantly on the Federation website, together with the result of the match, won by Donbas 2-0, titled "Donbass and Kramatorsk have taken a step into the abyss"

And today the statement confirmed the tough line adopted by the Federation

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