ST. PETERSBURG, November 18 (Itar-Tass) — St. Petersburg-based football club Zenit on Sunday issued a statement over the recent incident that took place during a match of the 16th round of the Russian Premier League with Moscow’s Dynamo, according to the club’s official website.
“Because of various interpretations of the club’s statements on the situation during the match with Dynamo, the Zenit football club thinks it necessary to clarify its position to avoid its further misinterpretation,” the statement says.
“First of all, we think it necessary to note that in any disputable situation that might arise in Russian football, Zenit never sees it as its priority to settle accounts with its rivals, to take part in sleaze wars or demand somebody’s blood. We always stress that only joint efforts of the leaders of Russian football and all clubs may make up for deficiencies in the normative base of our football, for flaws in its development.
“In the current situation, we have a somewhat different picture when negligence shown by one club, the organizers of the Dynamo match, becomes a problem for the other team.
“When analyzing what happened it is necessary to understand the following.
“Tickets to all sectors of the Khimki stadium were sold by the Dynamo football club. Zenit had not asked the match organizers to sell tickets for its fans to those sectors from where flares were fired. It was Dynamo who sold tickets to the guest sector. The Moscow club cared little about the principle of selling these tickets which were available for anyone at the ticket office. It is only logical that the entire responsibility for what happened at this sector rests with the Dynamo club. Why then the Moscow club insists on Zenit’s forfeit defeat.
“Another important issue is the organization of screening. Obviously not a single guest team has the capacity to control, let alone meddle in, the process of screening fans at the entry to a stadium. All the facilities and equipments necessary for that are controlled by a host team. Hence, the responsibility rests with Dynamo again.
“Bearing the above in mind, we are surprised that the leaders of the Moscow club, having no proof and not even trying to clarify the situation, jumped at conclusions at accused Zenit fans. And what is more perplexing is the fact that Dynamo instantly diverted attention from the problem of too frequent incidents at Dynamo matches in Khimki to demanding a forfeit defeat to Zenit.
“We believe that in line with the regulations and taking into account the aforesaid responsibility for what happened rests entirely with the host side, that is Dynamo. Now there is not a single proof that a Zenit fan was behind the incident. A guest team, which is not responsible for fans and players security under the regulations, may not be subjected to sanctions.
“In this connection, there is a question: does it have any point in taking part in a championship where a match can be interrupted because of one club but responsibility for that is placed on the other, which had no possibilities to prevent it,” the statement stressed.
The match that was held at the Arena stadium in Khimki on Saturday was interrupted after a flare hurled from the guest sector exploded near Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin. The goalkeeper got a cornea burn and was hospitalized. By Sunday evening, Shunin was released from hospital to continue medical treatment at home.