Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Russian arbiter rules against Mikhnov, Taratukhin

Alexei Mikhnov

Just as Alexei Mikhnov and Andrei Taratukhin were signing NHL contracts earlier today with Edmonton and Calgary, respectively (succinctly reported by The Battle of Alberta), then a report comes out of Russia saying that a Russian arbitration court has made a "breach of contract" ruling in favor of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, their former Russian Super League team.

Both Mikhnov and Taratukhin are still under contract with Yaroslavl, and were using the "two weeks' notice" loophole in Russian labor law in order to leave the Russian club to play in the NHL.

From Sport Express:

The arbitrator gave two rulings: 1) To acknowledge the fact that (by leaving for the NHL) the two players are in breach of contract with Lokomotiv; 2) To forbid either player from playing for any other teams for the duration of their contracts with Yaroslavl.

The court will announce its decision in full within 10 days; however, it is known that the ruling is based upon federal law regarding the sport, which, in the opinion of the court, holds precedence over the working legislation.

Andrei Taratukhin

Russian Hockey Digest provides their own translation of the Sport Express article, referencing the Russian law article that the decision is based upon:

According to Sport-Express, on September 5th, a Russian court arbitration ruled that Lokomotiv players Alexei Mikhnov and Andrei Taratukhin both are breaching their contracts with Yaroslavl team by leaving for the NHL, and that they can not play for any NHL clubs until their contracts with Lokomotiv expire. In 10 days the court will make the argument for this decision public. The decision was made based on article 26 of Russian Federal Sports Law, which according to the court is suitable for the players' contracts, and not on article 80 of Russian Labor Code as the players and their agents were hoping for.

At the most, what this probably does is force Mikhnov's and Taratukhin's lawyers to appeal the Russian ruling while the two players sit, and, if that fails, attempt to have a North American court overturn the Russian ruling. All of this could provide the template for Magnitogorsk's future legal action against Evgeni Malkin.