Latvian side Dinamo Riga say they are quitting the Continental Hockey League to show their ‘clear position’
Latvian side Dinamo Riga have withdrawn from European hockey competition, the Continental Hockey League (KHL), in what they have called an expression of the “clear position” of club management days after Finnish side Jokerit pulled out of this season’s playoffs.
One of five non-Russian teams in the KHL, Dinamo has decided to end its 14-year membership in the league following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
“In such a military and humanitarian crisis, we see no possibility of cooperation with the Kontinental Hockey League,” said Juris Savickis, chairman of the club’s supervisory board.
Jari Kurri, the Finland-based team’s president, suggested the club made their decision to exit the playoffs shortly after the military operation began.
He added that his announcement was delayed because he had to enter into discussions with the league in accordance with KHL policies.
“The world is going through really tough times right now,” he added, speaking ahead of his side due to face Spartak Moscow on March 1.
“All our thoughts are with those who are suffering from the situation. We hope that a peaceful solution to the situation can be found soon.”
KHL President Alexei Morozov said he regretted the departure of Jokerit, who joined the KHL for the 2014/15 season.
“We are very sorry to lose Jokerit – an excellent and dynamic team with a recognizable style,” Morozov regretted in a statement.
“It is very regrettable that the departure of Jokerit is not due to sporting reasons, but to political reasons.”
Other non-Russian teams in the KHL are Belarusian Dinamo Minsk, China Stars Kunlun Red and Kazakh team Barys Nur-Sultan.
The development is the latest in a series of sports announcements reacting to the situation in Ukraine.
On Friday, European football’s governing body UEFA announced that the Champions League final in May would be moved from Saint Petersburg to Paris and ordered the Russian national team and clubs across the country to play home games in a neutral setting.
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