Sidney Crosby. Photo: Reuters
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that negotiations about the Olympic games remains at an impasse, and what you need to prepare for the fact that the League will not be allowed their players to the Games in Pyeongchang.
The last time the NHL met with the IOC and IIHF in early February. And given the fact that in the near future such meetings are planned, the words Bettman sound pessimistic.
– At the moment no negotiations – said Bettman Reuters at the summit sports business in new York. – We were open to discussing a number of issues that could mitigate the damage season in the NHL, but did not find understanding. At the moment, people need to understand that players from the NHL not going to the Olympics.
The main issue for the NHL is that the players participation in the Olympics will lead to the fact that the League will have to cut the season in 2 – 2.5 weeks, and that players can get injured.
Given the fact that contracts in the NHL invested more than $ 3.5 billion, the NHL hopes to be called one of the main sponsors of the IOC, which will give the League the opportunity to profit from the participation of the players in the Olympics.
The NHL also said that the IOC will have to arrange and pay for insurance for the players, as well as the cost of flights and accommodation of players. The NHL took over these costs NV last five winter Olympics and more not going to do that.
– We don’t negotiate, – said Bettman. – The fact that I tried to focus on the fact that it is a terribly devastating time for our business and what does not work to mitigate the damage season in the NHL. I asked representatives of the IOC, why the NHL is not regarded as a main sponsor. When the IOC representatives come to us and say, “by the Way, we know that to provide insurance for players to cover the cost of flights and accommodation will take from 15 to 20 million dollars”… well, we’re not going to pay. If they don’t appreciate us, why we go to the Olympics?
The NHL didn’t send players to the Olympics in Sochi until July 2013. The next step, if it is followed, should make the IOC or the IIHF.
– From our side there will be no steps, said Bettman.
While the owners of the NHL clubs dug in from the IOC and IIHF have the players and sponsors who are creating the pressure.
Some players said that they would participate in the Olympics, regardless of the decision of the NHL. At the same time, the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, which is also the sponsor of the IOC and an Advisor to the NHL, trying to move things off dead center.
– We just know that there are many people interested in the same, and look at the options of how to set everything in motion, – said Vice-President of Bridgestone Phil Easter.
After NHL players participated in the last five winter Games, Bettman said that the NHL was no benefit.
This same phenomenon will apply to Pyeongchang, which is not a hockey market and the North American time of the game will be broadcast early in the morning, while at the same time in the NHL could be the most important games of the regular season.
– Remember that this is February, no baseball, no football, only we and basketball, and we just disappear, ‘ said Bettman. – We will not be able to show anything, can’t write in social networks and on the official website. Why we did it five times? Well, at the time it seemed like a good idea, but we are unable to reap the profits.
Dmitry KOTOV, Sport-Express