PETER Šťastný, an ice hockey legend and now an MEP, has repeated his call for Juraj Široký to step down from all his Slovak ice-hockey posts. According to a report on the SITA newswire on March 10, if his demand is not met, Štasný is threatening to leave Slovak Hockey's Hall of Fame and request the removal of the flag bearing his name and number, which currently hangs in the stadium of his club Slovan Bratislava. Šťastný regards Široký as a danger to democracy and sporting integrity because of his alleged cooperation with the secret service (ŠtB) during the communist regime.
The hockey legend is prepared to take these steps if Široký, the president of the Slovak Ice-Hockey Association, fails to resign from his posts within three months and remains the majority owner of Šťastný's home club.
"Široký has consistently denied any cooperation or connection with the ŠtB, and in doing so he has consistently lied to the public as well as to media," said Šťastný. "It is almost certain that he also lied in the application he sent to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) board, where he put diplomacy as his former profession. As a fully qualified and professional spy, loyal to communist ideology, he undoubtedly worked hard to subvert and destabilise western democracies and other enemies of the communist regime," Šťastný wrote in a letter.
Šťastný has sent the letter to René Fasel, the president of the IIHF; Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the European Parliament; Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee; Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner; and Bill Hay, the executive director of the ice-hockey Hall of Fame of NHL in Toronto.
The former player previously called on Široký, allegedly a generous sponsor of the governing Smer party, to resign two years ago. At that time documents from the Nation's Memory Institute showed that he had cooperated with the ŠtB. However, the papers were subsequently lost.
"This is not the first - and probably won't be the last - time that Peter Šťastný has called for my resignation," Široký said in response to the letter, the Sme daily wrote. "This is also neither the first nor the last time that they have accused me of commiting inhuman deeds."
He said that Šťastný is unwilling to accept that Široký did not extend a contract with him because the former player had stopped being a manager and had taken up politics.
17. Mar 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports