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ST. PETERSBURG, July 8. /TASS/. Russian national football team and Zenit St. Petersburg FC forward Alexander Kokorin apologized on Friday for the notorious party at a luxury night club in Monaco, which he had visited together with another national teammate Pavel Mamaev.
Life.ru news portal reported on Tuesday that Kokorin and Mamaev were partying at Twiga club and ordered some 500 bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne costing 500 euros each, with the total bill reaching 250,000 euros. Life.ru quoted an eyewitness as saying that champagne was served while the Russian national anthem was playing and the party was accompanied with a fireworks display.
Kokorin told TASS on Tuesday that he and his teammate Mamaev had nothing to do with paying for the party. Following media reports on the incident, both players were demoted by their respective clubs and they were subjected to financial penalties as well.
Kokorin was disciplined with his transfer to Zenit’s second team, while Mamaev, playinng for FC Krasnodar was transferred to the club’s youth squad. The sum of the financial penalties both players were subjected to remain undisclosed.
"Unfortunately, I permitted a situation, due to which such a scandal erupted," Kokorin, 25, told journalists on Friday. "I would like to make an apology. Without finding excuses, I would like to say that I have nothing to do with that champagne and those sums and, importantly, nothing to do with the situation that the Russian anthem was played."
Commenting on his possible expulsion from the Russian national football squad, Kokorin said it would certainly be a shock both for him and Mamaev.
"It will be undoubtedly a major blow for us," Kokorin said. "However, the decision to be made is up to the whole team and its management."
The Russian player said he was relieved to gather a news conference today and apologize for acts, which were brought by media sources as unbecoming behavior. He also said that he would focus on playing with the squad of his club’s second-division team, where he was demoted to following the champagne scandal.
"Perhaps, it was right to convene our small press conference," Kokorin said told journalists. "I’ll be preparing [for matches] in Zenit-2 and will receive further instructions from the management. I had a talk with Zenit directors. I’ll be fined but I don’t know for how much."
The player also said that all football fans had the full right blaming the national team over its poor performance at the European football championship, held one in every four years.
"It is normal to discuss the failures [of the national football team]," he said. "The multimillion country expected positive results but did not get them, therefore our supporters have the right to show their indignation."
The incident with Kokorin and Mamaev received a public outcry particularly after the national team’s poor performance at the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France last month.
Playing in Group B at the Euro Cup, which kicked off on June 10, Russia ended its match against England with 1-1 draw, then lost its encounters with Slovakia and Wales (1-2 and 0-3 respectively).
Having finished in the last place of the group, the Russian players, who are reportedly enjoying enormous salaries in the team, returned to Moscow. Some players decided to linger in Europe taking a vacation.
Russian Sports Minister and President of Russia’s Football Union Vitaly Mutko said that considering the act of defiance to society made by Kokorin and Mamaev, chances were little for these footballers to return to the national team.
According to the minister, a new chief coach of the Russian national football team will be recommended to consider the footballers’ behavior.