Slovan Bratislava spent seven seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the second most popular ice-hockey league in the world. The only Slovak team to take part in the league, Slovan made it to the play-off rounds only twice and started having financial problems shortly after joining KHL.
Representatives of Slovan have recently announced their return to Slovakia's top national league, Tipsport Liga, the Sme daily reported.
“We have told the KHL management that we failed to find an investor who would pay all our debts, which are to be repaid by the end of May,” said Slovan Bratislava Vice-President Juraj Široký Jr., as quoted by Sme.
There have been talks with a number of investors, but none of them was willing to commit to paying Slovan's ultra-high debts.
Široký Jr. has already informed Martin Kohút, head of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation (SZĽH), about his intention to register Slovan Bratislava for the national league.
Millions in debt
The Bratislava-based ice hockey club currently has no coach, players, or stadium, Sme wrote.
“Our debts are climbing to several millions of euros,” Široký Jr. claimed, as quoted by Sme.
To date, Slovan Bratislava owes €1 million in rent for the stadium, which is owned by the city. The club's management will have to find resources to pay remuneration to its players. It is also one of the conditions for the acquirement of the licence to play for Tipsport Liga.
“In the last three years, it was a lot of amateurism,” retired Slovak ice-hockey player Ľubomír Višňovský, who had played for Slovan Bratislava, told Sme.
He criticised not only the lack of money in the club but also the way players were picked.
“Some people have completely degraded Slovan,” he added, as quoted by Sme. “That should not have happened.”
Return to KHL?
There is still a possibility for Slovan Bratislava to rejoin KHL. However, it is not Široký Jr.'s aim right now.
“They told me: sort out the situation, and we hope you will join KHL again next year,” Široký Jr. described the debate with the KHL representatives, as quoted by Sme.
However, if Slovan is successfully registered for Tipsport Liga, the club will probably stay in this league, Široký Jr. claimed.
“Our ambition will be to get Slovan where it had been prior to leaving the Slovak league,” he added, as quoted by Sme.
29. May 2019 at 22:43 | Compiled by Spectator staff