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January 21, 2002

Great changes in Russia's hockey system

On January 16, 2002 has been held a meeting of the members of Russia's Professional Hockey League (PHL). There have been present 42 representatives of Russia's pro club teams of 47 which compete in the Superleague (Elite League) and Higher League at the quorum. 

The key question of the forum has been how to reorganize in the most appropriate way the structure of the Russian Hockey Championships for the next 4 years. The following plan has been proposed for the coming 4 years: 

bulletTo abridge the Superleague up to 16 teams in the 2003/04 season. 
bulletTo abridge the Superleague up to 14 teams in the 2004/05 season or 2005/06. 

All the changes in the Russia's Superleague directly concern Higher League which will be extended respectively up to 17 teams in each Division (Western and Eastern). 

The abbreviation and extension proposition has received various reaction of many club teams' presidents. There have been the men supporting the idea and objecting it. Twice Olympic Champion (1964, 1968) Boris Mayorov, currently Spertak Moscow president, has commented his point of view on the situation, "The progress in higher quality of Russian hockey is possible only with the abbreviation of Superleague to lesser number of clubs. Now we simply have no so many skilful players who match all the 18 club teams of the Russia's Elite League. This time the fans come to many ice arenas and see there onto the ice not real professionals but the band of mediocre players. I don't exclude that's the explanation of our failures at many high rank international tournaments." 

There has been held a preliminary voting which has brought 23:19 win in favour of abbreviation of the Elite League. It's been decided that at the end of the 2002/03 according to the final teams' results four clubs will be excluded from the Elite League. In the 2003/04 season only 16 teams will be the members of Russia's Superleague. The number of teams which should stay in Russia's Superleague in the 2005/06 season (whether 16 or 14) has remained undetermined. 

Russian Professional Hockey League committee (PHL) has also started the process of licensing all the agents who work in Russian hockey market. Several agents have applied for getting a license which gives them the right to work with the players on the Russian hockey market. It's been publicized that four organizations has already got their licenses. 

License #2 belongs to Global Sports Consulting limited company. Khaletsky Anton Gennadyevich is the owner of license # ??-I ?000002 

License #3 belongs to ATS close corporation. Falkov Sergey Vladimirovich is the owner of license # ??-I ?000003 

License #4 belongs to juridical firm named League of Law (russian: Liga Prava) which is limited company. Prikhodko Peter Olegovich is the owner of license # ??-I ?000004 

License #5 belongs to Sports Management Group limited company. Trusov Sergey Anatolyevich is the owner of license # ??-I ?000005 So far Russia is gradually moving to the civilized agent-player relations and many Russian hockey officials guess that it will decrease the number of accidents like recent Tampa Bay's Svitov and Anaheim's Chistov cases.

  Denis Neznanov
HockeyZonePlus' Russian Correspondent


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