Kokorin-Mamayev case: Footballers infected with the big money bacillus
The scandalous adventures of two Russian footballers Pavel Mamayev and Alexander Kokorin hit the headlines leaving such urgent topics like the Salisbupoisoninging and the battle of Nurmagomedov with McGregor far behind. The story of the footballers caused a public outcry. Every detail of this resonant story is being discussed: people follow the trial process and how Mamayev and Kokorin spend time in prison. Why do some people feel that the law is written for ordinary people, while others are happy to see the rich boys’ suffering?
A 10 years friendship anniversary turns into 7 years in prison
Zenit striker Alexander Kokorin and Krasnodar midfielder Pavel Mamayev have found themselves in the center of a big scandal again. On October 8, the footballers celebrated the 10th anniversary of their friendship and now they face 7-year term.
Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamayev
The whole story started with a party in a rented wagon of the Sapsan train which headed to Moscow from St. Petersburg, where a match Zenit-Krasnodar took place. A video blogger, Danila Poperechny, who was traveling on the same train, said the players behaved inappropriately, smashed the furniture, threw the dishes, pestered the conductors and fellow passengers, and drank the entire alcohol supply. “They were getting hammered and were screaming in the conference car, like some animals, some scum,” the blogger said. However, this information was officially refuted in the Russian Railways.
When the company reached Moscow, the young people decided to continue their party and go to a restaurant, and then to a strip club. Moskovsky Komsomolets reports, the party cost 2.5 million rubles (with the broken dishes as the most impressive point in the check).
Unfortunately, the celebration did not end up quietly. Athletes with their companions, including Kokorin's younger brother, arranged several fights in the center of Moscow. The first fight took place near the Peking Hotel, which left a driver of the Channel One TV host, Vitaly Solovchuk, with a broken nose and head injury. It did not stop the company and the guys moved to Coffeemania café, where they attacked the head of the department of Ministry for Industry and Trade Denis Pak, hitting him with a chair on the head.
The Kokorin brothers called the official of Korean origin a “Chinese” and called him singer PSY (the performer of the song Gangnam Style). During the brawl, Sergey Gaisin, the head of the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute, also got injures.
“Everyone could be at their place. I mean everyone can have a fight: on the street or somewhere else. But when a crowd of people beat one person, it’s just low, it’s girly,” Russian hockey player Artemy Panarin commented on the behavior of the players in an interview with Sport Express newspaper
A criminal case was initiated against Mamayev, the Kokorin brothers and their friend Alexander Protasovitsky under art. 116 of the Criminal Code (beatings) and Part 2 of Art. 213 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by a group of persons by prior agreement or by an organized group). The first article provides for up to two years in prison, the second - up to seven years.
Alexander during the hearing
Pavel Mamayev in court
On October 11, four defendants were arrested for two months and sent to the Butyrka pre-trial detention center.
The story caused a huge public outcry. The poll showed 48% of the respondents believe the athletes are guilty in the incidents and should be punished, 24% of respondents (26% of those familiar with the incident) consider all those involved in the incident guilty. Only 3% believe that there were no fights, and the football players were slandered.
At the same time, more than a half of the respondents believe that the leaders of FC Krasnodar and FC Zenit did the right thing when removed the players from training and terminated the contracts.
According to Konstantin Abramov, the General Director of the VTsIOM public opinion research center, a significant number of the respondents who do not consider the athletes fully guilty refer to the fact that the court has not yet heard arguments from all the sides. “A large number of Russians are waiting for the court decision, although most of them believe that the players are guilty, as their actions were recorded on cameras,” said Abramov. “Who else is to blame? Their friends who participated in the fights, maybe the victims,” respondents find it hard to say. But in general, Russians expect all those guilty in the incidents to be punished.
No doubts, Kokorin and Mamayev hit the headlines leaving the Skripal suspects, the Khabib’s vs McGregor fight, and even the retirement age reform far behind. The System of Complex Analysis of News (SCAN) confirmes this trend, and it’s not surprising. Kokorin and Mamayev are closer and understandable for Russian people.
It seems that the Russians are so tired of being fed with propaganda and empty promises that the story of Mamayev and Kokorin is a good chance to blow off some steam. The two friends have become a target for the people’s anger and aggression. At least, the Russians can be sure that there will be no punishment for a repost or a comment about these two guys.
The comments in social networks say: “’Footballers’ Kokorin and Mamayev are animals. They proved it once again. What a shame."
“This is a shame! Put these two thugs in prison."
“Who do Kokorin and Mamaev think they are? Or do they think they will just get away with it? Maybe it is time to punish these rich kids? "
“I wish the story for these creatures would not end up with a detention center. Any ordinary citizen of the Russian Federation would be jailed for 5 years for this. Only a real term will help them to fall from heaven to earth and understand that other people have the same rights.”
“The ‘reward’ has found its heroes, there will be time for them to think about it, and people who act like this will understand that in some situations, fame and money cannot solve anything if you do not respect the law and people.”
Wives of the players apologized for their husbands’ behavior in Instagram saying they “were just drunk”, Mamayev’s father decided to accuse the public of blowing up the scandal. At the same time, Mamayev Sr. did not hesitate in expressions: “Let them not *** [lie]. " I spoke with Khashig (Vladimir Khashig, the General Director of FC Krasnodar) yesterday, and Khashig sent us democratically to ***. What are you doing? What the hell did you do ***? And in Monte Carlo, *** staged. What are you doing ***?”
Konstantin Mamayev has a criminal record for robbery
Athletes and celebrities stood up to defend the players. Actor Dmitry Dyuzhev believes that the investigation is biased regarding Mamayev and Kokorin’s case.
“The reason for the harsh and undeserved punishment has become a political situation. At that moment, it was very profitable to show the public that the police are so strong and impartial that even a well-known athlete, the idol of youth, can be punished and sent to a colony. We are facing this situation now,” Dyuzhev wrote in his Instagram.
Former Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has also stood up for Alexander Kokorin. “Haters are not interested in your explanations of how you got up, they are interested in your tears and how you fell,” the Instagram message says.
The football clubs have not made a decision regarding a punishment for its players yet. Soon after the incident, the leadership of Krasnodar FC strongly condemned the behavior of Pavel Mamayev and promised to terminate the contract with him. The club has already filed an application with the Chamber on Dispute Resolution over a termination of the contract with the player.
The management of Zenit FC also spoke against Alexander Kokorin, but later said that there would be no punishment ahead of the court decision.
The ‘unsporting behavior club’ has also joined other footballers, such as Georgy Tigiyev, who was arrested earlier, Smardakov was detained for drunk driving. The video recordings show the footballers being very rude and aggressive.
“He behaved aggressively and arrogantly. He threatened with problems to our volunteers. He hinted to the police officer that he was not an “ordinary” person. Like, if they do not find anything with him, then they will have to apologize,” the activist said.
Later, the medical expertise showed Tigiyev was sober.
His teammate Evgeny Bashkirov was detained while driving in a state of alcohol intoxication. The expertise showed alcohol level exceeded threefold. However, Bashkirov behaved modestly during his detention. And the leadership of the Samara’s FC Krylya Sovetov did not terminate the contract with midfielder Evgeny Bashkirov after the incident.
Why the athletes who earn millions feel themselves allowed doing everything they want? Who are they to be paid such big money? - these are the two main questions Russian people have to the footballers.
There are a lot of examples of impunity among the rich sportsmen. It is worth remembering the disgraceful departure of Russia at Euro 2016 when the Russian team in the decisive match of the group stage lost to the Welsh team with 0: 3. The Russians left Group B, yet the athletes were not sad and decided to celebrate the loss and the early start of their vacation. So, Kokorin and Mamayev, who did not score a single goal in the tournament, gave a huge party at a Monte Carlo luxury nightclub.
The footballers offered elite champagne Armand de Brignac (€ 500 for a bottle) to their guests. According to eyewitnesses, about 500 bottles were drunk during the night. Mamayev and Kokorin spent € 250 thousand only for champagne. The alcohol was solemnly brought into the hall to the national anthem of Russia. The players were smoking a hookah.
“We were sitting with friends, Mamayev and Kokorin surrounded by girls were next to us. At first, they behaved very calmly and modestly. Then they began to drink champagne to the national anthem of Russia, started throwing confetti, lit the sparklers. People were taking the bottles from their table, as there were lots of them,” a person who was present at the party told this Life.
The public demanded the infamous players be punished after this incident: to fine or exclude from the team. However, the leadership of their teams, as well as the then Minister of Sports of Russia, Vitaly Mutko, stood up for the footballers.
“What does this have to do with the World Cup?” The national team finished their performance at the European championship, - noted Mutko. - The team had a specific task. The team did not leave the group. The performance was unsatisfactory. The thing is how effective the players were. Now, we have no the head coach, let's see who will take up this post, and who he will invite to the team. Believe me, the behavior of candidates for the national team will be necessarily taken into account. Everyone spends their time in accordance to their manners. "
Ex-Minister of Sports of Russia, Vitaly Mutko
Playing for the taxpayers’ money
This year, the Russians saw a brilliant performance of the Russian team at the 2018 World Cup which was held in Russia. The team reached the quarterfinal for the first time in the history and finally lost to the Croatian national team.
But the incident with Mamayev and Kokorin brought the public down to earth.
The most astonishing is the sums that the infamous players are paid for their unsuccessful performance. In the spring of 2018, the list of the richest Russian football players was published. 23 yo midfielder of St. Petersburg’s Zenit Leandro Paredes headed the rating with 5 million euros for the year. The second place was taken by the striker of Moscow’s Lokomotiv Vedran Chorluka with 4.5 million euros. Zenit’s player Branislav Ivanovich is the next with 4.1 million euros. Artem Dzyuba was also in the top with 10.66 million euros, as well as Alexander Kokorin with 3.3 million euros and Fedor Smolov with 2.9 million euros.
Kokorin annually enters the top lost and gets about 252 million rubles (which is 21 million per month) in rubles, while his friend Mamayev gets 180 million rubles a year (15 million per month). Thus, during their stay in a pretrial detention center, the football players earned more than 10 million rubles together.
In addition, Russian football has an extremely unfair system of financing the football clubs. In the Western countries, footballers play in professional commercial clubs and get salaries paid by investors and sponsors. In Russia, the players get the taxpayers' money and receive salaries similar to those in commercial clubs.
“It is difficult to imagine that a footballer of this level could earn such big money in any other country. They would play in second-line teams. But the problem is that players in Russia are actually state employees. This is not their fault, but it's the specifics of the national football system,” said Sergey Leybgrad, a football commentator.
So, the very football system in Russia allowed an ordinary untalented football player live like an oligarch.
“These guys [Kokorin and Mamayev] were infected with the big money bacillus. So, this infection will cure them. Let them transfer their salaries to orphanages, hold training with the kids. And let them play, although they are players of a medium level, I think. That is how they should pay for the damage, but no in a prison. Believe me, they will not get better there,” said Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev.
Coach Oleg Romantsev
Nothing human is alien
If the authorities have brought up such a spoiled generation of football players, then why should the footballers be responsible for this? For many years, they were allowed to demonstrate luxury cars, luxury homes, their overseas vacations, restaurants, and expensive wines. So, why they could not attack people being drunk? Who knew that the victims turned out to be the federal officials and the driver of the First Channel? It would probably be easier to agree with ordinary people, but Denis Pak demanded 100 million rubles as a compensation.
Thus, the public divided into two teams: while some of them are demanding that Mamayev and Kokorin be jailed for seven years, others are showing support to the athletes.
“The athletes must be punished. I've heard some offer to put them in jail for 7 years, everyone wants blood. We cannot allow this to happen. I do not protect them! I believe that they should be punished, but in a way that would not affect their professional skills. They are leading players, victories in the championship depend on them,” said ex-coach of CSKA Moscow Valery Gazzayev in an interview with KP.
Lokomotiv’s midfielder Igor Denisov expressed a similar opinion: “I believe that the punishment should be decided in accordance with the gravity of the crime. A suspended sentence, a huge fine, a public apology — anything, but a jail sentence. Prison is not an option. I don’t offer any special attitude regarding them - you need to solve everything in accordance with the law, I just ask you to deal with it without cannibalism.”
The head coach of the Russian national football team, Stanislav Cherchesov, has also spoken on the situation with Kokorin and Mamayev.
“There is life and there is sport. If a person gets a red card, it’s about football. What happens outside the field is private life. They are responsible as citizens, not as football players,” Cherchesov said on a show called
While the public is discussing the topic, the footballers are spending their time in a jail. The athletes train in a local gym, read books and wash toilets in turn. A real term for Mamayev and Kokorin would mean only one thing: a bright end to the career of a Russian footballer. All in all, as the former captain of the Russian national team Andrei Arshavin said: “Your expectations are your problems.”