Stanislav Cherchesov, Ferencváros’ Russian coach, is among the signatories of the Russian and Soviet footballers’ petition aimed at the UEFA and FIFA, protesting against the Russian national team and clubs’ exclusion from international football, in the wake of the country’s attack on Ukraine.
The letter was signed by some 30 notable Russian and former Soviet football players and coaches, including the honorary president of the Russian Football Union Nikita Simonyan, Cherchesov, and UEFA Cup and Champions League winner Dmitry Alenichev.
In the open letter they write:
- They don’t understand and accept the decision by pointing out the bodies’ anti-discriminatory principles.
- They say all players of Russian national teams and clubs of all ages, boys, girls, disabled athletes, are and would be affected by this decision.
- “We do not understand how the elimination of Russia from all kinds of international football competitions can contribute to the settlement of the geopolitical situation. On the contrary, such a decision only leads to a division in the world football community.”
- “Many of us have seen the times when the world was divided by the Iron Curtain, when the confrontation dragged on for decades. Then football helped find a common language and brought joy to fans around the world.”
- “Unfortunately, now these organizations have not risen up to protect the interests of the Russian and world football community, but on the contrary, immediately abandoned the main principle that football is kept out of politics.”
Cherchesov keeps his job in wake of sanctions
The 58-year-old former Russian goalkeeper was appointed head coach of FTC, led by ruling Fidesz’s party director Gábor Kubatov, in December, 2021. Cherchesov, a North Ossetian by origin, had previously led the Russian national team for almost five years. He coached the ‘Sbornaya,’ when they surprisingly reached the quarterfinals in the 2018 World Cup (by knocking out Spain in the round of 16 by penalties to then bow to future finalist Croatia, similarly through penalties), which Russia hosted.
Reportedly, Cherchesov maintains a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, regularly speaking during his time as the national team’s coach, for example. After the successes in the World Cup, Putin even awarded him with the Order of Alexander Nevsky. However, Russia failed to advance from the group at the European Championship in 2020 (which Russia co-hosted), which eventually cost Cherchesov his job.
On the heels of the sanctions implemented in reaction to the Russian attack on Ukraine, Cherchesov’s removal has become a topic to discuss. Ukraine’s ambassador to Hungary publicly put pressure on the green-whites to do so, similar to the wife of one of the Russian coach’s predecessor at Fradi, Ukrainian Sergiy Rebrov.
Rumor had it that FTC’s Ukrainian player Oleksandr Zubkov even refused to appear as long as Cherchesov is FTC’s coach. This was eventually denied by the club and Zubkov himself (who said he only missed the games for fear for his family), and he did appear later on only missing two games after the war outbreak.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI