Sweden to bar Russia-based ice hockey players from national team

AFP - [email protected]
Sweden to bar Russia-based ice hockey players from national team
Sweden's national hockey team stands for the national anthem before a match against Czechia in November. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

Swedish ice hockey players playing in Russia's KHL league next season will not be allowed to play for their national teams, the country's hockey federations said on Monday.


"Those players who choose to play in the KHL next season will not be eligible for our national team, but the formal," Swedish Ice
Hockey Federation secretary general Johan Stark told Swedish news agency TT, adding that the decision would be taken formally by the federation's board at the end of the season. 


The Swedish federation had initially issued a statement saying its KHL players would not be available for play in the World Championships in Finland May 13-29, but Stark told daily Aftonbladet that statement had been "unclear".

He clarified that players who signed contracts with KHL teams before Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 would be allowed to play in the World Championships.

"Those players who signed contracts before (the war started) will be able to play," Stark said. "In the best of worlds, we would have preferred for no Swedes to play in the KHL. The decision to stay (in the KHL) is up to the players themselves, but I know it's not that easy to just leave," Stark said.

The Finnish Ice Hockey Association was the first to announce the restriction on KHL players, saying in a statement that "players playing in Russia next season cannot play for the national team". 




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