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RFA Sanctions Infuriate Zenit

The club’s quest to retain its title has hit a setback after being handed a 0-3 default loss and forced to play two matches behind closed doors.

Published: November 28, 2012 (Issue # 1737)


Despite an appeal by St. Petersburg’s soccer club FC Zenit against sanctions imposed by the disciplinary committee of the Russian Football Association last week, Zenit was forced to play a key derby with one of its main rivals, Russian Premier League leader CSKA Moscow, behind closed doors Monday.

An encounter that would usually draw a sell-out crowd of 20,000 raucous home supporters and a smaller contingent of away fans was played in an eerily empty Petrovsky stadium. The match ended in a 1-1 tie, with Renat Yanbayev opening the scoring for Zenit in the 56th minute, before Rasmus Elm leveled the scores with an 84th-minute penalty.

The decision of the disciplinary committee to punish Zenit came in response to an incident in the Nov. 17 league match between FC Dinamo Moscow and Zenit in Moscow’s Khimki Arena, which was stopped in the 38th minute by the referee and abandoned after a firecracker thrown from the stands hit and injured Dinamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin, who sustained injuries to his eye and ear as a result.

The firecracker was thrown from a sector allocated to Zenit supporters, but the identity of the perpetrator has not yet been determined, despite a police investigation of video evidence and the interrogation of 53 fans directly after the game. According to sports newspaper Sport Express, a police source has confirmed that it was an unidentified young woman who threw the firecracker.

Police from Moscow’s Khimki municipal district, where the abandoned match took place, have arrived in St. Petersburg to assist local police investigating the incident in identifying the woman, Interfax reported.

In an official statement, Zenit said that Dinamo should be held responsible for match safety, as the host club was in charge of selling tickets for the away sector. The identity of fans was not checked during purchasing of tickets to the sector, and searching for dangerous objects such as firecrackers was the responsibility of stadium officials, Zenit said.

“We believe … that responsibility for the incident lies entirely with the home side Dinamo. At the moment there is no evidence that the crime was committed by Zenit fans. The away team is not responsible for the safety of the fans and players according to regulations, and thus should not endure sanctions,” said the statement on the official Zenit website.

Despite this, the committee handed the club a 0-3 default loss for the abandoned fixture against Dinamo and ordered it to play two matches — against the two teams above Zenit in the league table, CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala — behind closed doors. Zenit was also ordered to pay a fine of 1.13 million rubles ($36,470). Dinamo, which must also play its Dec. 1 match against FC Rubin Kazan behind closed doors, was issued with a fine of 580,000 rubles ($18,720).

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 22


Russian Premier League-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg return from the international break to take on Kuban Krasnodar at Petrovsky Stadium this evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can still be purchased on the club’s website, at the Petrovsky Stadium box office or in any of the club’s merchandise stores.



Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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