An allegation that IIHF Life President René Fasel failed to cooperate with an investigation by the organisation's Ethics Board has been dismissed ©Getty Images

The International Ice Hockey Federation Disciplinary Board has dismissed an allegation that Life President René Fasel failed to cooperate with the organisation's Ethics Board over an investigation into media interviews he gave regarding Russia and the war in Ukraine.

Fasel was referred to the newly-created Ethics Board in March 2022, following a letter to him from his successor Luc Tardif, claiming that he was being investigated for his involvement with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), his positioning regarding Russia and the war and various statements he had made about Russia and the war in Ukraine in the media.        

Fasel led the IIHF for 27 years before stepping down in September 2021, and was made a Life President in recognition of his service to the organisation.

In September 2021, Putin praised the work done by Fasel during his long tenure at the IIHF, hailing him as a "very responsible, knowledgeable, proactive and open person."

During interviews with Russian media in February 2022, Fasel claimed that organisations were "trying to completely isolate Russia in the world of sports", and said that it was "a sad moment in IIHF history" in response to calls to exclude the Russian Hockey Federation.

Fasel’s comments came prior to the IIHF opting to suspend Russian national teams and clubs from all its competitions until further notice, while Russia was also stripped of rights to host this year’s World Junior Championship.

Following what was described as a “lengthy period of correspondence” between the Ethics Board and Fasel’s representatives, the Ethics Board said it was unable to conclude whether Fasel’s media interviews were a conflict of interest.

However the Ethics Board ruled that Fasel should be referred to the IIHF’s Disciplinary Board to investigate whether he cooperated with them.

Fasel, left, pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2021 ©Getty Images
Fasel, left, pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2021 ©Getty Images

At an in-person hearing, held in Zurich, Switzerland, last month, Fasel claimed that he was not a covered party and that the IIHF’s Integrity Book did not apply to him.

He also claimed that neither the IIHF Ethics Board or Disciplinary Board had any jurisdiction over him and said that he had cooperated with the Ethics Board.

According to the IIHF’s statutes, a Life President has the same rights as a Council member, except the right to vote.

The Deciding Panel of the Disciplinary Board found Fasel had answered a series of questions regarding his involvement and arrangements with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, Russian Government and KHL.

In his answers, Fasel claimed he had no arrangements, or financial arrangements with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, the country's Government and KHL.

Fasel was then sent further questions by the IIHF Ethics Board regarding his relationship with the country’s President Vladimir Putin, when he had visited Russia within the previous year and whether he had ever had any sort of temporary or permanent residence in Russia.

Fasel did not answer these questions, advising the Ethics Board he would not do so as he believed these to be related to his private life or to matters not related to the IIHF or his Life Presidency status.

The Deciding Panel ruled that Fasel was a covered party and was subject to the jurisdiction of the IIHF Ethics and Disciplinary Boards.

It then concluded that by answering the initial questions sent in April 2022 that Fasel had co-operated with the IIHF Ethics Board, and the accusations against him were dismissed.