Swiss Ice Hockey

Wednesday's Federal Council announcement to make new loans available enjoyed a generally positive reaction within the hockey world. However, there are also some critical voices.

Denis Vaucher
PHOTOPRESS / Melanie Duchène

"First of all, we would like to thank the Federal Council most sincerely for their support. That is not something to be taken for granted," the Director of the National League and Swiss League Denis Vaucher tells Keystone-SDA. At the same time Vaucher has to admit that the conditions for a club to make use of such a loan are hard and challenging (e.g. reduce payroll by 20% in the next three years): "It is very important that we also take measures on the cost side so that the loans can be repaid," he adds.

«Loans do not cover any loss of income. Whoever is forced to make use of this loan is getting into debt»
Patrick Lengwiler, CEO of EV Zug

EV Zug's CEO Patrick Lengwiler is not satisfied with the Federal Council's help: "This offer does not make us happy at all as it is nothing more than a liquidity support," he tells Zentralplus. "Loans do not cover any loss of income. Whoever is forced to make use of this loan is getting into debt. For Lengwiler, therefore, this solution merely postpones the demise of clubs in distress and he is clearly disappointed with the Federal Office of Sport (FOSPO): "The FOSPO has obviously not succeeded in making clear to the decision-makers that ice hockey is not just a top-class sport but also an economic sector. The twelve National League clubs alone generate around CHF 150 million in added value each season."

There are also some mixed feelings from the Emmental: "With this measure it is only the headache which will be postponed," SCL Tigers' president Peter Jakob tells the Tamedia-newspapers. "It sounds good but it doesn't really help much - or do we have to be four million in debt by the end of the season? How would we ever be able to pay it back?" At least there is some kind of a safety net if things should get even worse, the Tigers' CEO Peter Müller adds.

Out of the Ticino it was HC Ambrì-Piotta's general manager Nicola Mona who commented on today's decision upon request from RSI. While he appreciates the Federal Council's decision as generally positive for sports, he also brings up some issues: "It is clear that the financially well-situated teams will not make use of this loan in order to avoid such costs. For other teams who are already battered in this sense it is rather a hard blow. Reducing costs that already belong to the lowest in the league is quite difficult."

( 13 May 2020 | rlu* )
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