MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti)
The Milano Rossoblu hockey team will not take part in next year's KHL because the club is too underdeveloped, a league vice-president said Saturday.
The long-mooted addition of the Italians always hinged on their financial security, and club president Ico Migliore told RIA Novosti last month his team is loathed to enter next season without guarantees it can remain long term.
"Last night we met with the leaders of the Milan team, and after a discussion of the situation we decided that Milan won't take part in the Kontinental Hockey League this season," said Ilya Kochervin, the league's vice-president for commerce and communications.
Kochervin said although Milano had won promotion to the top-flight Serie A this season, a small arena and tight finances ruled out its participation for now.
"Entering the league is a really serious deal, which requires solutions to all sorts of financial, techincal and sports-related issues, including the situation with the stadium," he said.
"A 4,000-seater arena is not enough to enter the league. They have another big arena there but Milan can't play there yet. Maybe the following season they'll manage to do it."
"If they can solve this problem, then they can claim a place in the league."
In March, Migliore said the club "doesn't want to enter for a year and then disappear."
"For us this is a long-term project that we need to approach very seriously."
The Rossoblu have a rich hockey history, winning 15 Italian championships and two Spengler Cups since being founded in 1924.
Their absence from the competition is a blow to the league's aspirations to expand across Europe, but siginificantly offset by the addition of three new teams in Ukraine's Donbass Donetsk, Slovan Bratislava and Lev Prague.
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