The CHL’s shareholders took the final formal step of confirming the five-year extension to the partnership between the CHL and Infront by agreeing to an updated shareholders’ agreement. In addition, they also voted in favour of reducing the number of participating teams in the league to 24, starting from the 2023/24 season.
At the CHL’s seventh ordinary General Assembly on Tuesday, held online and in the Swiss city of Zug, shareholders made a vital decision that will take the league forward and lead to further improvements in the on- and off-ice product. Starting from the 2023/24 season, the number of participating teams in the CHL will be reduced from 32 to 24.
“The CHL Board had negotiated the new contract with Infront under such a precondition, as a reduction in teams will create a higher-quality on-ice product and more exclusivity. This will also lead to greater financial compensation for the teams involved”, CHL President Peter Zahner said.
However, it was up to the shareholders to decide if they wanted to take this route or to stay with the current competition format with 32 teams.
“Our shareholders showed that they have the big picture in mind and are keen to take the next step with our product, as a strong CHL benefits everyone”, Zahner added.
The reduction will only take effect when the new Infront contract starts in 2023/24. This means that for three more seasons, 32 participants will take part in the CHL. The contractual preconditions stipulate that from 2023/24 onwards, the 24 teams must represent a minimum of 12 national leagues, and one national league cannot be represented by more than four teams.
The specific design of the competition format with 24 participating teams (e.g. allocation of places per national league) was not on the General Assembly’s agenda. These details will be decided at a later date by the relevant CHL bodies.
New Share Concept Approved & Long-Form Agreement Signed
CHL shareholders also gave their official approval to a new share concept that will be integrated into the shareholders' agreement. The new regulations provide simplification and allow for greater flexibility, while the split of share capital and the percentage of shares divided among all parties will remain as it was previously (clubs 63%, national leagues 25%, IIHF 12%).
Additionally, the shareholders’ agreement was prolonged until 2028, allowing the CHL and Infront to sign the new long-form agreement immediately after the General Assembly. This was the last formal step in the process of prolonging the partnership until 2027/28 (as per an announcement of 12 December 2019).
CEO Presents 2019/20 Financial Results
CHL CEO Martin Baumann presented the league’s annual financial statement to shareholders during the meeting.
“On the financial side, I’m happy to report a pleasing company result for 2019/20 even though the CHF/EUR situation totally worked against us and our profits were reduced by massive exchange losses”, Baumann said.
“Thanks to our very efficient cost management, we still made a small net profit which is not par for the course during challenging times”, the CHL CEO added.
As the Champions Hockey League is a Swiss-based company, all financial reports must be given in Swiss francs (CHF).