MOSCOW, March 31 (R-Sport) - The president of Russian KHL hockey team Atlant Moscow Region admitted Monday that its players had not been paid but denied it was in a "catastrophic situation," while the team's ex-NHL star Evgeny Artyukhin disclosed new details of the club's plight.
Five Atlant players have appealed to the KHL disciplinary commission over unpaid wages dating back at least three months, sources close to the situation told R-Sport on Sunday.
Artyukhin, who has played for Atlant since last year, confirmed an appeal was under way. "The guys just ran out of patience," he told R-Sport. "Not paying us since December was the final straw."
He added: "They're not paying the management or the staff. It's funny, but there hasn't even been coffee in the dressing room."
Atlant president Valery Kamensky, himself a former Olympic gold medalist, said there had been "interruptions" that the club was attempting to resolve.
"We're trying to put an end to the issues. The faster we do it, the better," he said. "There's no catastrophic situation. It's a purely technical problem."
The unpaid wages could be dealt with "today, maybe tomorrow, possibly at the end of the week," he said.
Atlant has historically been a power in the KHL, Europe's largest hockey league, reaching the Gagarin Cup finals in 2011 before defeat to Salavat Yulaev Ufa. However, the team missed the playoffs for the first time this season, finishing ninth in the Western Conference.
One of Atlant's major financial backers is Anton Zingarevich, a Russian businessman who bought 51 percent of English Championship football club Reading FC in 2012 and has since courted controversy by allegedly reneging on promises to buy the remaining 49 percent of the club and to invest millions of pounds in the club.
Another major shareholder in Atlant is the Moscow Region government, which has been keen to reduce its funding for professional sports teams in recent years, also cutting back funding for the state-backed BC Khimki basketball club.