Russia Closes Two-Week Loophole
Sergei Artyunian, Russian Hockey Federation
The Russian Hockey Federation is pushing through an amendment to the Russian Labor Code that will close the "two-week loophole" allowing an athlete (in this case, a hockey player) to terminate their contractural obligation to their team by giving two weeks' notice.
In an interview that was posted today by Soviet Sport and the Russian Hockey Federation web site, Sergei Arutyunian of the RHF explains that under the new law, which has been adopted as a first draft and will likely be voted on in its final form by October or November, any player who wishes to prematurely end their contract will have to reimburse the club up to 2/3rds of their income (including insurance and other compensation) from the previous 12 months. The amount of the settlement will likely be negotiable, and will apply the other way (early termination by teams of a player's contract, since Russia currently does not have a "buyout" system like the NHL does) as well.
According to Arutyunian, the new law, which also sets a 5-year limit to the length of any contract, is intended protect the rights of both the employees and the employers by "defining a clear legal framework for the relationship of sports organizations, clubs, and the employers on the one hand, and the athletes and coaches on the other."