The leader of the Russian figure skating might be deprived of the amateur skater status because of his participation in a commercial show.
Russia’s national figure skating team in the upcoming year may yet again be left without its leader, Evgeni Plushenko. International Skating Union has the right to disqualify an athlete for the violation of the rules about amateur athletes participating in commercial skating shows. Silver medalist of 2010, who missed the recent World Championships in Turin due to knee injury, had no right to skate in any competition or commercial show in the course two weeks, according to ISU. But Plushenko came on the ice for the show "Kings of the Ice", which was held in St. Petersburg and in Moscow on the 30th and 31st of March. The Figure Skating Federation of Russia has just received written notification from the ISU stating that Plushenko might face disqualification from competitive skating for the next year.
Many news sources report that this all started when on the eve of the "Kings on Ice" show Figure Skating Federation of Russia sent a letter to the International Skating Union. The letter said that in reference to the medical report that became the pretext for Plushenko’s refusal to take part in World Championship 2010 the Russian Figure Skating Federation did not give Plushenko permission to take part in that show. ISU then, in turn, sent questions to the organizers of "Kings on Ice" because without the permission from the National Figure Skating Federation and ISU no current athlete has the right to take part in such shows. But Plushenko did.
[Just prior to all this, on March 25th, the head of Russia’s Figure Skating Federation Valentin Piseev announced his intention to leave his post of Federation President following elections on June 4th, 2010. This announcement came after Russia’s Figure Skating Federation and Piseev received heavy criticism following Olympics 2010. In part the criticism came from Evgeni Plushenko.
See "Valentin Piseev Falls From Power" – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=379868965783 ]
The show "Kings on Ice", in which Plushenko had gathered the world’s strongest skaters, athletes from the Olympics in Vancouver, was planned a long time in advance, and, of course, its cancellation was unthinkable. It was equally unthinkable that, instead of four kings (Plushenko, Joubert, Lambiel and Weir) only three would skate, and Plushenko would tell his fellow-athletes and the audience that he cannot skate because Russia’s Figure Skating Federation is not giving him permission to. Knowing Plushenko, such an action on his part is difficult to imagine. Therefore, the main king of ice knowingly took the risk. Russia’s Figure Skating Federation did not fail to let Plushenko down. After Vancouver, Plushenko so fiercely criticized the country’s figure skating chief Valentin Piseev that Piseev was forced to announce his resignation from the post he has held for the past 21 years. Naturally, the Federation became very uninterested in helping Plushenko. Moreover, we can guess that it was probably Piseev himself who decided to rat on Evgeni’s "improper" behavior to ISU.
Position of the International Skating Union in this matter is simple. Every skater who wants to compete under the auspices of ISU must obtain permission to participate in a commercial show. Each case is viewed by representatives of ISU separately and decision is made based on various factors. Show "Kings on Ice" has gathered many well-known figure skaters, who plan to continue their amateur careers next season: Brian Joubert, Johnny Weir, the duo Meryl Davis – Charlie White and others. The ISU did not have a problem with any one of them. The position of the Federation is that if Plushenko competed at the World Championship, no one could question his performances in shows. But doctors ordered Evgeni to not overload the injured leg, so Plushenko did not go to Turin to compete, but he did come out to skate in a money-making show.
Attitudes of Jealousy
Plushenko states that in the shows he doesn’t need to jump quads, so the shows bring no harm to his health. But Evgeni and his entire team, including the Figure Skating Federation of St. Petersburg, knew that under the rules he needs to obtain permission from the ISU. Evgeni did not do this, which prompted an immediate reaction from the International Skating Union, questioning his reasons for the unwillingness to participate in the World Championship. Figure Skating Federation of Russia says that no formal steps have yet been taken because they have not yet decided how to act to avoid this absurd disqualification.
"We do not know what to do next because it’s difficult to argue with ISU," – world champion in ice dancing and now the head coach of Russia Synchronized Skating Oleg Ovsyannikov explained to GZT . RU. "Amateur figure skaters are required to report participation in a show both to the National Federation and the ISU. Plushenko did not do this, and now he’s facing a penalty. The situation is complicated by the fact that he withdrew from the World Championship, and the Russian Figure Skating Federation sent a letter to the ISU about that, as required by the rules. After examining the medical evidence, ISU banned Evgeni from skating anywhere for the next two weeks. And the show "Kings on Ice" just happens to fall within these two weeks. It is a pity that this all happened. We are now thinking about how to resolve this misunderstanding. Some publications now shift the blame for what happened on Russia’s Figure Skating Federation, saying that the Federation complained about Plushenko to the International Skating Union, but it is not true," – said Oleg Ovsyannikov.
Plushenko’s team has not yet made a comment about the situation that has unfolded. Plushenko’s coach Alexei Mishin said to GZT . RU, that he would not comment on the possible suspension of his student athlete, and only added that all this is happening "because of people’s jealousy to Evgeni’s talent."