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Russian Football Union’s chief referee resigned voluntarily — sports minister

The RFU chief referee came under heavy criticism after October 2 match of the Russian Football Premier League

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Resignation of the Russian Football Union’s (RFU) chief referee Valentin Ivanov is in no way connected with the recent match between Russia’s two leading clubs Spartak and Zenit, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day the Russian governing body of football announced in its statement that Valentin Ivanov, the head of the RFU Referee and Inspection Department had submitted a letter of resignation, which was accepted and satisfied by the administration of the organization.

"It is not the first time he wanted to resign and do not connect this resignation with the (Spartak-Zenit) match," Mutko, who also holds the post of the RFU president, said. "Perhaps he was a bit early with his resignation."

"Anyway we need reformations, it is inevitable, and this is not the last letter of resignation to make it clear to you," RFU chief told journalists. "We need changes to happen in the professional football, we need to have the committee in football and reformations in the sphere of refereeing are imperative."

Ivanov came under heavy criticism after October 2 match of the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) between Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg. Heated controversies erupted when Zenit’s left-back Domenico Criscito, who already earned a yellow card, knocked down Spartak’s winger Quincy Promes with the match score standing at 3-2 in favor of the club from St. Petersburg.

The incident went unnoticed by Sunday’s match referee Sergey Ivanov and moreover, during the next attack of Zenit he ordered a penalty shot on the Spartak goal. The game ended with 4-2 flashing on the scoreboard.

Spartak Director General Sergey Rodionov said after the match that all developments regarding the work of referees in the pitch were "an outrage." Sergey Ivanov received the lowest possible grade for his work during the match.