KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko spoke about the key details from Wednesday’s meeting of club directors.

May 23 brought together the directors and GMs of the 25 KHL clubs for a summation of the league’s 10th anniversary season. In additional, the meeting reviewed the outline schedule for the 2018/19 season and discussed the league’s further development as far as 2023. After the meeting, KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko spoke to reporters.

KHL Club Directors Meet in Moscow

Next season, 25 teams will play 775 games

– We’ve just finished my eighth meeting with the club directors. This tradition began back in 2014. We reviewed the 10th anniversary season, looked at the changes in the club rankings, put forward details of the structure for next season’s schedule and also looked at the areas for development between now and 2023, so that every club can understand where we are headed, and why.

We have prepared an analysis of every club’s rating and we will send them out in the coming days. The underlying idea of this is to understand the potential of every KHL member. It’s important to understand that this is not an automatic process, it serves as an additional resource for the KHL board of directors. This year we saw eight clubs improve their ranking position but next year the picture may be very different, perhaps in term of the TV audience index.

We also looked in detail at the structure of next season’s schedule. There’s going to be even more exciting hockey: in the coming season we’re increasing the number of big games. The regular season starts on Saturday, September 1, and finishes on February 22, 2019. The playoffs run from February 25 to April 25.

The reach of the KHL also widened to 32 countries. This season we welcomed viewers in Great Britain, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg. 

We’re increasing the number of games for each team in the regular championship to 62. Forty-eight of these are as before, on a home-and-away basis; there will be 10 games within each division and four more against the team’s biggest rivals. In total, 25 teams will play 775 games in the regular season. We’re changing the schedule for the first round of the playoffs to make things more appealing for spectators. On day one, we will play two games from the Eastern Conference and two from the West; the following day will see the other two games from the East and the other two from the West.

The calendar is due to be presented somewhat later than expected. This is due to significant changes as a result of CSKA’s move to the VTB Arena and the IIHF’s decision to bring the World Championship forward one week. However, it’s important to note that this year hockey games will take priority over concerts in all our arenas. This is a big achievement for us.

KHL broadcasts are watched in 32 countries

– If we talk about the outcome of the 10th anniversary season, it was a success. The figures confirm that the TV ratings are improving at every stage of the competition. The regular season saw an increase in audience share from 1.8% to 2.2%, while the playoffs also saw an increase from 3.9% to 4.3%. There was an 8% increase in the number of games screened in HD format compared with 2016/17. Now, 87% of broadcasts are in HD.

The reach of the KHL also widened to 32 countries. This season we welcomed viewers in Great Britain, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.

Our space odyssey was another great event: in the spirit of Gagarin, we sent a puck and a mini-replica of the Gagarin Cup into orbit.

We’re increasing the number of games for each team in the regular championship to 62. Forty-eight of these are as before, on a home-and-away basis; there will be 10 games within each division and four more against the team’s biggest rivals. 

Now a few words about the KHL’s future development. All the clubs received detailed development plans through 2023. They are aimed at helping clubs become more independent and reducing costs. The key moment in our development will be the adoption of the Financial Fair Play principle. Excessive spending will be curbed by the establishment of targets for items of each club’s budgets. The regulations have been amended, and the league reserves the right to send a monitoring commission to any club to examine its financial activities. This process has already started.

We are also making significant changes to our anti-doping and medical programs. I would stress that, despite all of the problems that arose with WADA, the KHL continued its regular, systematic work. We did not drop out of the international circuit. Samples were taken, WADA officers did their jobs, and this will continue. A separate part of the regulations is devoted to the battle against doping. This is a new chapter. It describes and regulates, in detail, everything related to the provision and conduct of anti-doping activities and educational programs.

There will also be changes to officiating games, with technical innovations in the new regulations. In the 2018/19 season, two ‘Videogoal’ cameras will be installed on every blue line to ensure that every moment in the game is available for review. Over the next two or three years, there are plans to install a further four cameras. In addition, there are new changes to prevent coaches from using gadgets as the basis for appeals.

“An audit is not a punishment, it’s there to help clubs”

– Why did Kunlun move up the ratings? Attendances were poor and the team did not make the playoffs.

– We performed an individual analysis for every club. Nothing is hidden, you can check the numbers for yourselves and correctly work out which factors led to a rise or fall.

– How will you stage external audits?

– An external audit is carried out by external consultants who work with primary financial documents. They systemize it, analyze it by income and costs, and compare those with the equivalent parameters at other clubs. All the information, of course, will be kept confidential and the analysts will not have access to identifying information during their work. An audit is not a punishment, it’s there to help clubs.

– Why did the league refuse Avangard a one-day contract with Jaromir Jagr, to allow him a farewell game? Is it a matter of principle?

– If there is a principle, then the principle is to prevent a breach of the rules. But I have seen no official appeals to the league on this matter.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
exclusive for khl.ru

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