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Russian Premier League condemns national footballers’ assault on customer in Moscow cafe

This is not the first time that both Russian footballers were involved in public scandals
Alexander Kokorin/TASS Vyacheslav Evdokimov/TASS
Alexander Kokorin/TASS
© Vyacheslav Evdokimov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. The Russian Premier League (RPL) on Tuesday condemned a recent incident at a cafe in Moscow involving two national footballers Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev.

According to earlier media reports, FC Zenit striker Alexander Kokorin and FC Krasnodar midfielder Pavel Mamaev beat up one of the customers at a downtown Moscow cafe on Monday morning after the customer, sitting at a table nearby, requested that they conduct themselves in a calmer manner in a public place.

Both footballers assaulted the man hitting him on the head with a chair and then punching him in the face, inflicting numerous injuries. The victim, Denis Pak, turned out to be working as a department chief at the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry. Besides other injuries, he suffered a concussion, which he later reported to the police.

"After all details of the incident involving Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev have been straightened out, the Russian Premier League expressed its indignation and condemns their hooliganism," the RPL said in its statement.

The RPL added that such behavior by two football players casts a dark shadow not only on the clubs they are playing for, but also on Russian national football as a whole and "the guilty must be given the toughest punishment."

RPL President Sergei Pryadkin told TASS commenting on the incident that the league will turn to the country’s governing football body with a request to thoroughly investigate the incident involving the football players.

"The Russian Premier League will turn to the president of the Russian Football Union requesting to probe the incident involving footballers Kokorin and Mamaev within the frames of the Ethics Committee and to come up with a relevant estimation of their actions," Pryadkin said in an interview with TASS.

Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg football club condemned the recent behavior of its 27-year-old striker Kokorin and promised that penalties were bound to follow on behalf of the club once law enforcement bodies finish investigating the details of the incident.

Krasnodar FC club announced earlier in the day that it was considering severing its contract with 30-year-old Mamaev, who had been already suspended from training sessions and subjected to a monetary fine.

RFU Acting President Alexander Alayev told TASS he hoped that the Russian Interior Ministry will hold an all-embracing investigation into the incident, which involved Kokorin and Mamaev.

"First of all, I want to say that everyone is equal to the law and those guilty will be punished as they deserve it," Alayev said in an interview with TASS. "I am sure that the Interior Ministry will hold a competent investigation and establish all details of the incident."

"Incidents of such nature cast a shadow on our football," he said. "The RFU and our national team did their utmost to earn the current reputation and to deserve the respect and love on behalf of football fans," Alayev continued.

This summer, Russia hosted its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14 and ended with a spectacular final match, played also at the Luzhniki Stadium, where France confidently defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the much-coveted World Cup Trophy.

The national football team of hosts Russia managed to make it to the quarterfinals stage of this world championship, where Croatia edged them out on a 4-3 penalty shootout win on July 7 at the Fisht Arena in Sochi.

The acting president of Russia’s governing football body also said he supported plans of the respective national clubs to impose sanctions on their players.

"We [the RFU] support the decision of the clubs to consider an issue of severing contracts with the players," Alayev said. "The Russian Football Union will thoroughly study an issue of planned sports sanctions."

"The RFU, the coaching staff of the national team, the footballers came a long way to change the attitude towards them," he said. "We value our reputation and condemn the incident."

According to media reports, before the incident in the cafe both footballers had reportedly assaulted a driver of a Mercedes near the Peking Hotel in Moscow, beating the man up, in addition to breaking one of the vehicle’s windows and damaging one of the car’s doors.

This is not the first time that both Russian footballers were involved in public scandals. The most notorious one took place two years ago after the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup tournament in France. Mamaev and Kokorin allegedly shelled out 250,000 euros on champagne while partying in Monaco, just as the European championship was still on, but their national team was knocked out.

While Kokorin and Mamaev were partying at the ritzy Twiga club, they ordered some 500 bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne costing 500 euros each. According to eyewitnesses, the champagne was being served while the Russian national anthem was playing and the party was accompanied by a fireworks display.

The incident with Kokorin and Mamaev sparked a public outcry, especially following the national team’s poor performance in June at the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France, and both players later apologized for their behavior vowing that it would never happen again.