Yesterday morning, the Swedish Competition Authority (and they call themselves "socialists"?) delivered its verdict on the Elitserien precluding locked-out NHLers. Up until this point, the Elitserien operated under the stipulation that the league will not permit locked out NHL players to play in the SEL, unless said players agreed to spend the entire duration of the 2012/13 season overseas.
By rendering a decision that left the decision up to the individual Elitserien teams, the SCA has empowered and given the teams the autonomy to do what is in their own best interests.
Per Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk):
Hockey clubs are considered businesses and co-operation that inhibits free competition is not allowed. SEL decision compared to a cartel.— Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk) September 21, 2012
The SCA will apparently continue its investigation.
If the Elitserien does not abide by the decision of the SCA, the SCA has the authority to impose 20M krona fines on individual teams in violation. By allowing Elitserien teams to sign whomever they want and threatening them with monetary punitive measures, the SCA has essentially opened Sweden’s borders up to locked out NHL players; essentially giving them a viable alternative to other European leagues. Not only will this create more opportunity for jobs, it could potentially offers the players more leverage in negotiations.
“They know I want to come home and I’ve been talking to them since the summer and now it’s just a matter of getting a solution done and making it work for everyone. I don’t want to put them in debt or anything. I want to make them a better team if I come. I don’t want it to be unfair for anyone. I think they (made) the right choice. There has been a lot of pressure from everyone and now it’s up to the teams to see if they’re willing to take on players or not. I’m going to stay here (in Ottawa) for at least a week or so and get everything organized.”