UEFA is violating the principle of fairness”. Pyunik’s president defended Russian sportsmen

This is not the first time that Armenian Pyunik suffers from the arbitrariness of visas from EU countries. Last season, the Russian representatives of the team were not allowed to Lithuania for the European Cup match with Zalgiris – and that meeting ended in failure for Yerevan residents. Now history has repeated itself in Estonia: midfielder Mikhail Kovalenko, assistant head coach of Pyunik and, for some reason, Nigerian striker Taofik Zhibril could not go to Trans Narva on the road. It is not clear what questions the consulate staff had for the African, but in the end he failed to get to the match. The story of the failure to issue visas to citizens of Russia, while clearly not going on a tourist trip, has already made one cringe. Pyunik came out of the situation with honor, defeating the opponent with a score of 3:0 and sending the Estonians to watch the club’s international season on TV. But this did not save the host, and at the same time the UEFA executives, from the righteous indignation of the Armenian club’s leadership.

FC Pyunik

“We don’t know what awaits us”

In his appeal to the leadership of European football, Artur Soghomonyan drew the attention of officials to the fact that this is not the first time his club has been harassed due to the presence of Russian nationals in the team’s composition and coaching staff, and urges them to influence the situation. According to the president of Pyunik, because of such events, it is not so much the image of the countries that refused visas that suffers, as the prestige of UEFA, which verbally declares the equality of all participants in the competition, regardless of their nationality. In addition, Soghomonian emphasizes that he is not sure that the situation will not continue: in the next round, Pyunik will have to play with the Swede Kalmar, and the probability of another refusal is also quite high. The key moment in this whole story is visible to the naked eye: on the one hand, UEFA does not ban individual Russian footballers from competing, on the other hand, they cannot participate in a series of matches held under its auspices.

FC Pyunik

Scream into the void

With a high probability, Pyunik will not be able to get a positive solution to the problem. For entry into the territory of EU countries, the specially authorized services of the respective states are responsible, and certainly not by UEFA. And European football officials will definitely not agree to disqualify all national federations of countries that do not allow Russian athletes to visit – the effect of such a decision will throw a bombshell under the international football calendar. Thus, Pyunik and all the clubs for which citizens of the Russian Federation play, apparently, will have to come to terms with the fact that in the near future, before away matches in different countries, Russian footballers will have to be left at home. And UEFA in this situation must either “cut her alive”, or forget about bravura slogans dedicated to equality and justice for all union members without exception. These words are no longer worth the paper they are written on.


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