For over half a year, Russian troops have been murdering and raping innocent people, bombing cities and looting houses. Many athletes – as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine – decided to leave Russia. However, not all of them. There are those who are not bothered by war.
September 21, 2022, 2:07 pm
Getty Images / Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency and Matteo Ciambelli / NurPhoto / Matthew Anderson decided to play in the Russian league. Even though the Russians are murdering Ukrainian civilians.
Vladimir Putin’s decision to start the biggest war in Europe in almost 80 years resulted in the withdrawal of most international companies from Russia. Overnight big concerns decided not to support the criminal regime.
Also, overnight, many foreigners, including sportsmen, left this country. Grzegorz Krychowiak is the best example of this. The footballer of FK Krasnodar immediately decided that he would not stay any longer than necessary in the country that attacked the independent state (HERE for more details >>).
Many players followed in the footsteps of Krychowiak. – The biggest blow hit football – Nikolai Jeremenko, journalist of “Soviet Sport” admitted in csmonitor.com. – The money that Russian clubs earned in European cups (let us remind you that UEFA excluded them from international competitions – editor’s note) was a very important component of the budgets. Thanks to them, it was possible to sign contracts with famous foreigners. Now Russian clubs cannot afford it.
SEE VIDEO: Michniewicz was going for a difficult conversation with Milik. But the attacker beat him!
Still “good cash to be won” in Russia
It is a bit different in volleyball. “Transfer bomb” – this is how the worldofvolley.com portal titled the article that one of the best volleyball players in the world, Matthew Anderson, returns to the Russian league, to Zenit Saint Petersburg after three years of break. The American has performed in China for the past few months, and before that in Italy.
What made him decide – despite the war – to sign a contract in a country that is recognized by the vast majority of the world as an aggressor who should be isolated? Anderson did not officially speak, but it can be expected that there is a very high amount behind the signing of the contract.
– There are players who go to Russia, because there is really good money to win – said the current world vice-champion Tomasz Fornal in the podcast “Conversations of the Journalist” recently. – I personally could not have made such a decision. I don’t want to go to play in Russia because what’s happening right now is simply sick. Should I go to a country that is doing something like what we see in Ukraine?
Anderson is not the only one
The medalist of the Olympic Games, World Championships or World League (because Anderson has such successes) is not – unfortunately – a “black sheep”. Jenia Grebennikov also plays in the Russian league. An equally recognized and titled athlete (he is, among others, a gold medalist of the Tokyo Olympics), signed a 3-year contract in Russia in 2021 and does not intend to break it.
– If the war spreads, then I will consider leaving the Russian league – this is how the French libero commented on his situation in August 2022.
By August, Russian soldiers had taken almost 10 percent. area of Ukraine, murdered thousands of people (including children). What “extension” did Grebennikov mention? It is not known.
– I asked the French federation and the embassy what to do. I heard that I was to stay because I have an important contract in Russia – explained the French. – My father was a representative of the USSR, I have part of my family here, I feel good in this country.
Not a word about the murdered Ukrainians. Meaningful.
From Rzeszów to Kazan
In September 2022 (!!!) another world volleyball star – Sam Deroo decided to move to Russia. The Belgian recently performed in Asseco Resovia Rzeszów. In February and March 2022, he must have seen millions of refugees from Ukraine who fled – precisely through Rzeszów – from the bombing. He saw the tears, he saw the terror, he saw the tragedy of these people.
This did not prevent him from being bound by a contract with Zenit Kazan a few months later. He will perform there alongside the American – Micah Christenson.
In Russia, the eighth season will be spent by the acclaimed libero – Lauri Kerminen. Even the fact that he was excluded from the national team did not prevent the Finn from making the decision to sign the contract with Dynamo Moscow. – We do not accept the game in the country that caused the war – the Finnish federation announced in a special announcement.
79 foreigners in the Russian league
Russians love ice hockey. Putin also loves this discipline. He talked about it many times. It seemed that the exodus of foreign players playing in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) would give a lot of food for thought.-
Nothing of that. It turns out that the Russians had no major problems with bringing other hockey players from abroad. According to the official website of the league, KHL currently has as many as 44 Canadians, 12 Americans, eight Slovaks, six Swedes, three Czechs, two Latvians and French, as well as a Finn and a Japanese. A total of 79 foreigners who do not mind earning money stained with blood.
“We are waiting for Scott Wilson’s goals, because NHL champions rarely come to us” – you could read before the season in the Russian media.
But Wilson is not the only player with a past in the best league in the world – the NHL. Brendan Leipsic has almost 200 games in these competitions (including Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings), Josh Currie was a player of the legendary Edmonton Oilers (22 games), and Edward Pasquale also made a short episode in the NHL. They all perform at Russian ice rinks.
“Support for the military regime”
Dmitrij Jaskin also plays in KHL. The Czech representative – born in Russia – played many seasons in the NHL. In total, he has 266 matches to his credit. And now? He plays in the Russian league.
– The work of a Czech citizen in Russia supports the military regime, supports the aggression against Ukraine, and therefore a threat to our country. In my opinion, politicians should introduce a law that would prohibit our hockey players from playing in KHL – this is how Dominik Hasek, the legendary representative of the Czech Republic, said in an interview with iSport.cz.
Let’s get back to football for a moment. It is not as bad as Jeremenko claims (as we wrote about at the beginning of the article). Indeed, during or immediately after the 2021/22 season, as many as 37 foreign players left the Russian league, but … – Our clubs have contracts with 23 foreigners for the 2022/23 season – “Sport Express” counted.
This group includes a Pole – Maciej Rybus, about whom we have written many times, because for this reason he lost his chance to go to the World Cup (you can find more details, among others HERE >>).
These are not anonymous footballers
The largest number of players in the Russian league comes from Brazil and Serbia. These two countries have been “supplying” many players to the East for years, and the start of the war in Ukraine has not changed anything in this matter.
It is in vain to look for players from the world’s top in Russia (as it is, for example, in volleyball), but Malcom has 15 matches for Barcelona, Dejan Lovren played over 130 games for Liverpool, and Jhon Cordoba’s “counter” means over 100 appearances in German Bundesliga (1st FSV Mainz 05, 1st FC Koeln and Hertha Berlin).
In the summer of 2022 – that is, already during the hostilities – Keita Balde decided to transfer to Russia. This player has over 200 games in the Italian Serie A (Lazio Rome, Inter Milan or Sampdoria Genoa) in his CV.
As you can see, these are not anonymous (and therefore desperate) players. And – just like in volleyball – they are not bothered by the fact that they often operate against their home federations.
Last season, Mathias Normann was on loan from the Russian league to the English Norwich City. Even though UEFA regulations allow him to find the club outside the Russian league, despite the signed contract, he decided to come back. Playing for Dynama Moscow. The 12-time Norwegian international was automatically excluded from the national team.
– We cannot appoint a man who does not mind the fact that the Russians are murdering people – the Norwegian federation does not beat the bush.
Help us improve WP SportoweFakty. Answer two short questions.
How do you rate the athletes still performing in Russia?
They should go away
It’s their business
I have no opinion
vote if you want to see the results
report an errorWP SportoweFakty
Maciej Rybus Władimir Putin Zenit Kazan Dominik Hasek Dejan Lovren Matthew Anderson Jenia Grebennikov Sam Deroo Keita Balde Micah Christenson Lauri Kerminen Jhon Cordoba Malcom Mathias Normann Brendan Leipsic Other