Kontinental Hockey League Will Allow Players To Compete In PyeongChang
The Kontinental Hockey League said on Wednesday that it was "in favor of its players competing" at the PyeongChang Games after Moscow agreed to let Russian athletes take part as neutrals, according to Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber of REUTERS. The Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday agreed to "support athletes who choose to compete at the Winter Olympics in February as neutrals" after the Russian team was banned. Last month, KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko hinted that the league "could bar its players from competing at the Olympics in retaliation for doping investigations against Russian athletes." But in a news release on Wednesday, the league said that its board of directors supported Russia's decision. It also "wished good luck to all KHL players representing their various countries' national teams" at the Games. The absence of KHL players in PyeongChang could have dealt a "serious blow" to Olympic hockey given that players from the NHL "will not be taking part" (REUTERS, 12/13).
AMERICAN CONTROL: The AP's James Ellingsworth reported Russian President Vladimir Putin accused U.S. agencies of "manipulating evidence from the main whistleblower on doping" at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Putin said Thursday that former Moscow anti-doping laboratory Dir Grigory Rodchenkov -- who is under witness protection after fleeing to the U.S. last year -- is "under the control of American special services." Putin added that Rodchenkov being in the U.S. "is not a positive for us, it's a negative" (AP, 12/14).
MINOR SETBACK: The EFE reported Putin "admitted delays in construction work on one of Russia's 12 World Cup stadiums." Cosmos Arena, which is located in Samara, will host group stage and round of 16 matches and one of the quarterfinal matches. It has "been the primary headache for organizers for months." Putin, who said that work on Cosmos Arena is two months behind, added that "it is salvageable" and will be "ready on time" (EFE, 12/14).