KHL bans Ryspayev for life following infamous preseason brawl

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The Kontinental Hockey League has punished Damir Ryspayev with an indefinite ban. The Barys Astana defender attacked a number of players from the Chinese team Red Star Kunlun during a game.

“KHL’s department of competition reviewed an appeal from Beijing team and the episode of the game between Barys (Astana) and Red Star (Beijing) that took place on August 8th 2016, and have analyzed all the materials of the game,” the league said in a statement.

Making the decision on the current incident, KHL’s department of competition took into account the ruling of the Sporting Disciplinary Committee, and Ryspayev’s history of violating the game’s rules.

Citing sections 1, 11, 33 of regulations for violation of rules 527 (exceptional roughing) and 528 (fighting and roughing), the league decided to apply the “infinite disqualification” to Ryspayev.

The disqualification cannot be appealed in the court or any other institution. “However, it can be lifted following a review by the disciplinary committee of an appeal of the interested side,” reads the official statement on KHL’s website.

The ruling has become the first case of a life-long ban in the KHL.

“There is a place for fighting in ice hockey, for a bout of the equal contenders, on the fair play basis,” the league said.

"But there is no place for outright roughing, which has been displayed by Damir Ryspayev in the game with the Red Star Kunlun. We are constantly working to attract new audience (to the league), popularizing of ice hockey in new regions, and Ryspayev’s actions has been negatively considered (by the league), not only in the sporting meaning, but in the image meaning.”

"According to it, we could not leave that action unpunished and made that decision,” said KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko.

Founded in 2008, the KHL consists of 29 member teams from Belarus, China, Croatia, Finland, Kazahstan, Latvia, Russia, and Slovakia. 

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