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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

End Unfair NHL Contracts

Moscow's deputy mayor, who doubles as hockey chief for the city of 10 million, called on Monday for an end to unfair contracts which he said allowed North American ice hockey leagues to buy up top Russian players on the cheap.

"Our clubs sell our players for pennies," Valery Shantsev said at the official presentation of the world junior championshipto be held from December 26 to January 5, 2001 in the Russian capital.

"It doesn't even matter whether we sell a guy like Pavel Bure or an average player, our clubs get little in return."

Shantsev said Russia must find a way for a new, more balanced agreeement with the National Hockey League (NHL) in order to protect its own interests, otherwise its hockey would be relegated to a support role for the North American industry. The Russians have lobbied hard to scrap a three-year deal between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the NHL, which was signed in 1997 and allowed the NHL to buy top European players for an average of $50,000.

Shantsev said the one-sided deal contributed to Russia's dismal showing at this year's world championship in St Petersburg.

In May, the Russians, the top contenders for the gold medal and playing on home ice, ended up in 11th place -- their worst finish in the world championship history.