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No licence for Chur

Chur's players have been getting used to setbacks recently Keystone Archive

Chur ice hockey club have become the latest Swiss sports outfit to be punished over financial failings.

Barely one week after three of the country’s top division football clubs were relegated because of insufficient funds, Chur have been denied a licence to play in either of the top two ice hockey leagues.

Chur were relegated to the second division last season, following some disappointing performances on the ice. But now their financial difficulties off it could see the team drop straight down to the country’s third division.

If they have to declare themselves bankrupt, the club could even be forced to restart life in the sixth (and lowest) national division.

Massive debt

National league president Franz A. Zölch said the decision to deny Chur a license had been taken primarily because of the club’s massive debt problem, reported to involve some SFr2.5 million ($1.6 million).

Chur company directory Jürg Rageth admitted that the league’s announcement had not come as a huge surprise.

“It was clear to us that the league would have no other choice, considering the documents put before them,” Rageth said.

Partnership with Lugano

However he added that the club still hoped to win back its right to play in the national league, thanks to a planned partnership former top division rivals HC Lugano.

Along with Chur’s honorary president Thomas Domenig, Lugano have already invested SFr575,000 in a new company created to take over the Chur side.

“We still haven’t given any thought to not playing in the second division,” insisted Rageth. A final decision will be taken by the national league on Friday.

Canton Solothurn club EHC Olten are also waiting to see if they will be granted a second division licence, although the league hinted on Wednesday that a second relegation would not be necessary.

“Olten failed to produce certain key documents, and will certainly be fined,” said Zölch, adding that the club had been given until June 30 to satisfy the league of its solvency.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR