Arbitration Tribunal decision: the case of HC Lada
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has taken a final decision in the case related to the 2005/06 Women’s Champions League, group match between HC Lada Togliatti and Slagelse FH which took place on 21 January 2006 in Togliatti, Russia.
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has found that Mr. Oleg Yepifanov, employee of the club HC Lada Togliatti at the time, attempted to manipulate one of the nominated EHF referees by offering him money before the game.
This is an improper act that is classified as serious unsportsmanlike conduct, violating the fundamental principles of friendship, fair play and respect for all participating people and organisations which are the basics of handball sport. Such conduct may seriously threaten the reputation of European handball.
Mr. Oleg Yepifanov is therefore excluded from taking part in any international handball competition and from carrying out any EHF function and/or activity for a period of five years.
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has also decided to sanction Mrs. Julia Visner, club manager of HC Lada Togliatti at the time, for lack of cooperation with the EHF to investigate the manipulation attempted by Mr. Oleg Yepifanov.
It is the responsibility of the hosting club to ensure the security and proper run-down of official EHF competition matches. This involves an obligation for all club officials to cooperate closely with the EHF when security and proper run-down are in jeopardy; in particular when facing extremely serious violations of the EHF regulations or the fundamental principles of sport.
Mrs. Julia Visner is therefore excluded from taking part in any international handball competition and from carrying out any EHF function and/or activity for a period of two years.
Finally the Russian club HC Lada is also sanctioned as clubs are accountable for the conduct of their officials. Mr. Oleg Yepifanov, Mrs. Julia Visner and HC Lada, as a club, did obviously not comply with their obligation to protect EHF referees.
In fact, preceding any game in EHF competitions, particular care shall be provided for EHF officials in order to help professional and fair refereeing of the match. This duty involves that EHF officials shall not be confronted with situations that clearly violate the EHF regulations or the fundamental principles of sports.
Therefore, HC Lada shall pay a monetary fine of €30,000 with the threat of two-year exclusion. The exclusion is suspended for a period of four years.
Right to appeal
In line with the EHF Arbitration Regulations, a statement of claim may be filed at the EHF Court of Arbitration within 21 days.
Technical analysis of the game
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal requested technical analysis of the aforementioned game from independent refereeing experts. The video analysis confirmed that there was no evidence of biased or imbalanced refereeing during the match.