ST. PETERSBURG, November 23 (R-Sport) - The Russian FA has manipulated the country’s league in favor of CSKA Moscow by handing Zenit St. Petersburg a defeat by default after a player was attacked, Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti said Friday.
Zenit’s game against Dynamo Moscow last week was abandoned after a pyrotechnic thrown from the Zenit end left Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin with eye injuries that caused him to be briefly hospitalized.
The Russian FA handed Zenit a technical 3-0 defeat Thursday and ordered last season’s champions to play two games behind closed doors, a decision Zenit have vowed to appeal. The ruling leaves Zenit third in the table, six points behind CSKA, who they play Monday.
“It’s obvious, as with last year, that they’re trying to give the advantage to CSKA,” Spalletti said, in an apparent reference to an incident last season when Zenit received a technical defeat for breaking squad selection rules.
“I don’t understand why they create problems like this for my team. What has my team done to deserve that?”
“We have become just as much victims as Shunin.”
The Russian FA’s disciplinary committee ruled against Zenit due to a regulation that states away teams are responsible for the visiting fans.
Zenit argued that Dynamo should take responsibility since the Moscow club had put tickets for the away end on open sale, but Dynamo said Zenit had agreed to this policy and that entry had been limited to those registered as living in or near St. Petersburg.
Dynamo will also play one game behind closed doors and have said they will not appeal. Both teams received fines.