The Kontinental Hockey League is in the middle of a truly bizarre controversy, even by KHL standards.
In late May, the KHL Board of Directors gave Dynamo Moscow 10 days to provide information on how the club was to be financed for the 2017-18 season. There was talk the team could be liquidated, as one report had Dynamo with a debt totaling over $33 million U.S.
Know this about Dynamo: The hockey team is just one arm of the larger Dynamo sports organization, which includes basketball and soccer teams among others. The money that comes in from sponsors goes into the big pot of money for all the teams.
Andrei Safronov was the director of the Dynamo Moscow hockey club, and he was accused of amassing this debt, to the point where the parent company was claiming a “breach of trust” with sponsors. So here’s what Dynamo told the KHL: Safronov was out, and the leadership group of the Dynamo parent company took over the hockey team.
According to Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport, Dynamo Moscow’s hockey team “has debts on wages since last season of more than $12 million.” The parent company doesn’t believe it’s responsible for this debt, and believes Safronov should pay it, given his mismanagement is what created this debt. So that battle is playing out in the background.
In the foreground, we have another issue: the players.
Dynamo Moscow’s players that are still under contract want to become unrestricted free agents because, according to Lysenkov, they haven’t been paid for three months. There’s going to be a meeting on July 4 in which the KHL will determine if these players will be allowed to be free agents and sign with other KHL clubs.
The KHL, according to Lysenkov, doesn’t want to grant the players this status “because it wants to keep the legendary club in the league. But under the law, Dynamo must be kicked out, because there are many violations of KHL law.”
Please recall earlier this year when the KHL announced that Metallurg Novokuznetsk was kicked out of the league for 2017-18 when it was revealed that it wasn’t paying players and owed them $17.7 million in back wages.
“The KHL will not stand for this,” KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko said, which makes it difficult for the League to stand for what Dynamo Moscow is doing now.
As a sidebar to all of this: The KHL cancelled the release of its 2017-18 schedule because it can’t make one until it knows the status of Dynamo Moscow for next season.
KHL, please never stop KHL’ing.
Thanks again to Pavel Lysenkov for the assist.
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