Price of playing for Russia

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Once the contracts to play for Russia are signed, Jason Gunnlaugson and friends will not be eligible to play for Canada at a world championship for as long as six years.

Even if Gunnlaugson, Justin Richter and Tyler Forrest officially return to Canada after four years, the World Curling Federation rules state that they cannot represent a different country on the world stage for another two years.

"There is a two-year wait and yes, they are aware of that," Patti Wuthrich, who was hired as a curling consultant for Russia, said from Gimli on Tuesday.

Wuthrich was still waiting for the official contracts to be sent from the Russian Sports Authority and planned to have a legal rep pore over the pacts before signing them. However, the three Manitoba curlers will not be paid the $100,000 per player, as rumoured.

"But they will definitely be well-compensated," she said. "They will get a wage, have all their expenses paid and keep all of their earnings (from cashspiels)."

Although all three need to spend 60 days in Russia to be able to become Russian citizens, which would make them eligible to play for Russia at the world championship and the Olympics, it does not have to be a consecutive 60 days.

The three Manitobans will play with two Russian curlers while Wuthrich will also train another Russian men's team, with the training sessions based in Manitoba.

WELL-RESPECTED: When Cathy Overton-Clapham was so callously cut by Canadian champion Jennifer Jones, Wuthrich immediately thought she would be a perfect fit for the Russian women's team, but said that is "unlikely."

Overton-Clapham, meanwhile, has not formed a new team yet.

"I've just been overwhelmed with the e-mails I've gotten from across the world," she said Tuesday. "They were really supportive, saying what a shame it was and they hope to see my back on the ice. And the whole Colleen Jones team called me. Colleen told me what she went through and how tough it was for her. She had a really difficult time with it and they weren't even Team Canada at the time."

The rest of her team split from Colleen Jones and formed a team without her after the 2006 season.

Overton-Clapham does not know how her share of last season's earnings will be settled or if she will be offered any compensation for what she will miss the next season.

Meanwhile, Overton-Clapham has talked to some local curlers, including Raunora Westcott, about forming a team for next year.


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