Two-time Olympic champion Alexander Kozhevnikov spoke about the behind-the-scenes of the popular game in an interview with Alexey Matveev especially for the VChK-OGPU telegram channel and

Petition to Putin

- Now a serious scandal has erupted due to unfair, and some people think, biased refereeing in matches of the Continental Hockey League (KHL). What angers you personally when watching championship games?

- Different interpretation of hockey rules. This most outrages, I would even say, infuriates not only me, but also numerous fans. For example, for some reason the referees miss blatant pushes to the players’ backs, which, by the way, is fraught with serious injuries. The footrests don’t seem to “see”. Of course, referee mistakes can and do affect the final result of a particular fight. Players, coaches are on edge, the situation during matches is tense, and so on.

- Maybe the mentioned “mistakes” smack of bias, and the judges whistle so much for “left” money, which confuses many teams and their fans?

- I think it’s unlikely that the mafiosi “rule” here, in any case, I don’t have such information. It’s just an extremely low level of the referees themselves, that’s all.

- Well, of course, the other day the veterans of the St. Petersburg club SKA even sent a letter to President Putin. The text asked to restore order in hockey refereeing, perhaps to involve employees of the competent authorities in the fight against possible negativity. This is a circus! It’s hard to imagine that the leadership of Washington, Detroit, or Pittsburgh, or their fans, would send a similar letter to Biden. Funny…

- Maybe they did the right thing by turning to Putin. He’s a hockey guy, he plays himself when time allows.

- Are you serious? He is, rather, a well-known judoka...

- Quite, I repeat, a hockey gentleman who is not indifferent to the popular game. And, by the way, he understands the nuances.



- Fine. What should we do to raise the level of refereeing? You proposed, among other things, to oust the leadership of the refereeing department, to cleanse the ranks of the referees themselves, and to attract, so to speak, “fresh blood.” Do you see anyone in particular at the helm of refereeing?

- Certainly. International category judge Alexander Zaitsev could head the department instead of Alexei Anisimov, who has long compromised himself with unprofessionalism. Alexander is an honest, qualified specialist.

In my opinion, all this Anisimov does is “excuse” his few colleagues who are skilled on the ice after glaring mistakes. I would pair up Zaitsev with the legend of the judging department, Yuri Karandin, he could work full-time as a consultant, his advice is priceless, his authority is indisputable. Without personnel changes there will be no progress for the better.

- But refereeing is like a “state within a state”; officials at various levels cannot interfere in its work, including the hockey federation, the Continental League, etc. So what to do? The situation seems hopeless.

- Yes, the “state”, but a very bad one, as we see. Well, if Anisimov had a conscience, he would have left...

Interviewed by Alexey Matveev