Time Running Out for NHL to Determine Olympic Participation -- Federations Focus

(ATR) Also: Isinbayeva running for ARAF presidency; FIFA ..., summer federations leadership changes.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Ryan Callahan #24 of United States and Zdeno Chara #33 of Slovakia battle for the puck during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Ryan Callahan #24 of United States and Zdeno Chara #33 of Slovakia battle for the puck during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(ATR) Deputy commissioner for the National Hockey League Bill Daly says there has been little progress to get NHL players to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.

"I'm not going to handicap it, but what I'd say is I think time is very short to make a decision and I'm not sure there's been a lot of progress made in the past six months," Daly said ahead of the World Cup of Hockey final between Canada and Team Europe. "And I'm not sure there's any prospect of progress being made."

Daly was recently notified of talks between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee. The IOC is maintaining its stance that it won’t pay the out-of-pocket expenses to the NHL that would allow its players to participate in the Games.

If the IOC holds this position through January 2017, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics could be the first since 1998 where the NHL players are not present. IIHF president Rene Fasel says he is doing everything in his power to make sure the NHL can send its players to the Games.

"Our job at the IIHF is to find a solution," Fasel told the Associated Press in Toronto. "I will go everywhere and anywhere to beg for the money. That is my job."

The estimated cost for the players to participate in the Games is $10 million. Fasel has suggested cutting some of its development programs that receive funding from the IOC in order to cover the costs. He now believes there is a 50 percent chance the NHL players will compete in PyeongChang, a slight upgrade from his previous outlook of a 40 percent chance.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is also placing the onus on Fasel.

"The discussions are at a point where the IOC has made its position clear and I think it's fair to say the IIHF, Rene Fasel, is trying to figure out what to do," Bettman said.

If the NHL players miss the PyeongChang Games, there is a good chance they would be more keen to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to the large market potential of the host city.

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games will begin on Feb. 9, 2018, with or without the NHL players.

Isinbayeva Seeks to Rebuild Russian Athletics

Russia’s distinguished Olympic pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva will run for president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF).

The two-time gold medalist could not compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics due to the complete ban of the ARAF athletes that came as a result of the Independent Commission report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that uncovered systemic and state sponsored doping programs within the country.

She now hopes to turn the tables around and reestablish the credibility of the Russian track and field program with her presidential bid.

"I’ve made a decision I should lead our athletic federation and restore its foothold in the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF)," Isinbayeva told reporters.

"Of course, I will need your support," she said. "We must act together. I am certain that joint efforts will restore justice and ensure sports should be outside politics. I have my own plan for restoring our federation’s membership of the IAAF. It will be no easy task."

The election conference is set to be held on Dec. 9. Although Isinbayeva has declared her intention to run she must first receive a nomination from a regional federation. The Volgograd Region has yet to decide if it will nominate the Olympic champion and recently elected member of the IOC athletes commission.

World Baseball Classic field finalized

The field for next year's World Baseball Classic (WBC) is set.

Israel defeated Great Britain 9-1 making it the 16th and final team to qualify for the tournament. This marks the first time Israel will participate in the Classic.

The last opportunity Israel had to compete was four years ago but the team lost to Spain in the 10th inning of the qualifying round.

Throughout this year’s tournament Israel went undefeated having beaten Britain and Brazil last week.

The team now joins the other 15 teams including Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela who were given automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2013 tournament.

Australia, Mexico and Colombia won their qualifying rounds earlier this year, earning their spots at the WBC.

The World Baseball Classic will be held in South Korea in Mar. 2017.

FIFA Diversity Award Received by Slum Soccer Organization

Indian NGO Slum Soccer was the recipient of the first FIFA Diversity Award this week in Manchester, UK at the Soccerex Global Convention.

The award was presented by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura and other members of the FIFA Diversity Award jury including former Dutch international Clarence Seedorf and former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger.

This award was created to reinforce FIFA's fight against discrimination and promotion of diversity and recognizes organizations and initiatives that do so.

Indian NGO Slum Soccer was able to achieve that through its work to connect citizens and improve the living conditions of estranged Indian societies.

Other finalists for the Diversity Award included the International Gay & Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) and England’s Kick it Out organization.

FIFA continues to promote the association's fight against discrimination by installing new monitoring systems that will document discriminatory incidents in preliminary matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Written by Kevin Nutley and Courtney Colquitt

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