sports blog by andy shenk

Lausanne Organization to Rule on Controversial Dinamo – Zenit November Match

In Russian Football on May 10, 2013 at 3:13 AM

Posted at Russian Football NewsAn analysis of the Zenit – Russian Football Union dispute that dates back nearly six months to a match in Moscow. Click here or at the end of this excerpt to read the entire article.

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will decide this weekend whether or not to uphold the Russian Football Union’s decision to punish Zenit with a technical defeat in last November’s match vs Dinamo, after a flare thrown from the Zenit away stand nearly hit Dinamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin.

The resolution of Zenit’s nearly six-month long appeal will finally bring clarity to the top of the Premier League table. If the appeal is successful, Zenit will leap into a tie for first with CSKA (depending on the outcome of the weekend matches). Dinamo, who led the match 1-0 in the 37th minute before it was called off, would drop from 4th to 7th, a tough blow in the race for Europa League places.

The decision, of course, won’t be fair, no matter which side wins. Because of the nature of Zenit’s appeal, CAS’s only two options are to uphold the ruling or rule that Dinamo, as the match host, should have been handed a 3-0 technical defeat for failing to ensure safety at the stadium. Zenit, understandably, were outraged to lose three vital points because of the actions of a few fans. But a technical defeat to Dinamo would be even more odd, given they led 1-0 when the match was canceled and that the flares came from the away stand.

The aftershocks from November 17, meanwhile, rumble beneath the surface in Russian football. Lest you’ve forgotten, in the days following the match, Zenit announced that it was considering withdrawing from the Russian Premier League if the loss was not overturned. The bravado subsided for a few days, before Gazprom chairman and nominal Zenit owner Aleksey Miller unveiled plans to launch a Russian-Ukrainian United Championship within two years.

Joined, ironically, by CSKA and Anzhi, the two clubs battling with Zenit this spring for Champions League places and the league title, Miller put together a United Championship (UC) organizing committee headed up by Alania president Valery Gazzaev. The initiative has brought to the forefront divisions within the Russian football elite. Nikolai Tolstykh, Russian Football Union (RFU) president, is seen as the primary opponent of the UC and backed by numerous football dignitaries and much of the Russian football media.

The UC has the support of most of the Russian Premier League clubs, excluding Terek and Mordovia, as well as RPL president Sergei Palkin, the man Tolstykh defeated in September elections for the RFU presidency.

The most popular game right now for the Russian football media, in fact, is attempting to sniff out the grudges and shifting alliances thinly veiled by this conflict. Tolstykh himself has not directly criticized the UC, but several of his deputies have, claiming that the whole thing is an attempt by Zenit, Anzhi and CSKA owners to undermine the man they voted against in the September elections. They may well be right. What’s more troubling for UC opponents, however, is the enthusiasm with which other Premier League clubs, including Spartak, Lokomotiv, and Rubin, have embraced the concept of the new league, which will be backed heavily by Gazprom in the early going.

Continue reading at Russian Football News.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: