World of Sport

Russia coach banned from final for throat-slitting gesture (but they win anyway)

World of Sport

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Russia won their fourth world ice hockey championship in seven years with a 5-2 win over Finland, getting revenge for their Olympic quarter-final defeat in February - but head coach Oleg Znarok had to watch from the stands after he was suspended following an extraordinary row in the semi-finals.


Znarok was forced to sit in the public area for the final after he was censured for a throat-slashing gesture made at Swedish assistant coach Rikard Gronborg after their semi-final victory in Minsk, Belarus.

You can watch the argument here:

Gronborg was also banned from Sweden's bronze medal match, as he was deemed to have overstepped the mark with the language he used towards Znarok.

The lip-readers among you will have a fairly clear idea of the somewhat fruity English he directed towards the Russian. Thoroughly unpleasant all round.

Hilariously, the unrepentant Znarok claimed he merely had a sore throat:

"It’s cold around here, and we have very thin suits."


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The International Ice Hockey Federation was less amused:

"In the case of Znarok, he was found to be in violation in accordance with IIHF Rule 551 D)3 for making an obscene gesture to Gronborg. Coach Gronborg… was suspended for making, according to the IIHF Rulebook ‘a travesty of the game by conducting himself in a detrimental manner by directing foul and profane language’ toward coach Znarok."

Ultimately it did not get in Russia's way, with an added piece of history made after Znarok's Latvian assistant Harijs Vitolins stepped in to become their first ever foreign head coach, and a victorious one at that.

World champions Sweden, meanwhile, gained some consolation with a 3-0 win over Czech Republic in the bronze medal match.

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