The situation around Ivan Fedotov has become, perhaps, the main topic of discussion in Russian hockey during the summer offseason. After completing military service in the fleet, the 26-year-old goalkeeper refused to come to the Philadelphia Flyers NHL club, with which he signed a valid contract, and signed a new contract with CSKA, in which he previously played.
The indignation of the leaders of the American club is easy to understand: they insisted that Fedotov’s contract for the period of military service was not terminated, but suspended. Interested in this controversial dispute and the international hockey authorities. As a result, the IIHF imposed a four-month suspension on the goalkeeper, the term of which begins on September 1, the time when the new season begins in the KHL.
But CSKA immediately made it clear that it considers the contract that Ivan signed with the Army Club to be completely legitimate. Moreover, Fedotov even appeared on the ice in one of the control matches. At this point, the redjiazules have not violated anything: for pre-season matches that do not have official status, their suspension does not apply. From a legal point of view, Iván maintains the form of play that seems convenient to him.
However, the IIHF, which had already brought our hockey into a regime of complete and severe international isolation, reacted immediately. The head of the organization, Luc Tardif, said that if Fedotov appears in CSKA after the official start of the suspension period, a disciplinary case will be opened against the club.
But in the red and blue field they quickly realized that, in reality, the Club itself is not risking anything. No possible sanction will prevent them from playing in the KHL. And international transfers are already prohibited for the army for a whole year. And CSKA decided to defend its position to the end. The capital club announced Ivan Fedotov for the next season. At the same time, he made it clear that he intends to use the goalkeeper from the start of the regular season.
It remained to wait for the official comment from the army chiefs on the reasons for such a decision. And the reaction of the president of PHC CSKA was immediate.
“CSKA forwarded the request to the FHR and the KHL. Fedotov will play from September 1. I would not like to interpret the nuances on this matter. I think we have done everything legally correctly. This is how the IIHF responded. It’s not right to talk about it. Lawyers take care of this,” said Igor Esmantovich.
In this situation, what is surprising is not even the position of the rojiazules, but the attitude of the hockey authorities in our country towards the issue. By giving permission for Ivan Fedotov’s performance, avoiding disqualification, the FHR further aggravates the confrontation with the IIHF. The removal of Russian teams from international competitions will end sooner or later, but this story can seriously slow down the return to the world hockey family. Not to mention the fact that the mutual recognition of contracts between our clubs and foreigners can be forgotten for a long time.
Therefore, the leaders of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the Continental Hockey League should seriously consider whether it is necessary to burn bridges with the rest of the world for the sake of the interests of a club, even a superstar one.