MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - The president of the Russian republic of Chechnya has denied allegations that Terek Grozny's victory over Krilya Sovetov on Saturday was arranged in advance.
Speaking to the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Ramzan Kadryov said claims that the game in Grozny was fixed were "complete nonsense."
"We don't need those kinds of victories," said the Chechen leader, who is also the club president. "For football, and sport in general, these kinds of victories, if they occur, are in fact a defeat."
Russian sports media reported before the game, which the Chechen team won 3-2, that one individual had staked $400,000 on a Terek win on the Betfair Internet betting exchange.
Furthermore, despite Krilya being eight places above 10th-placed Terek before the match, some 96% of bets placed were on a home victory. After the news broke, a number of bookmakers stopped taking bets on Terek taking all three points and odds for a home victory dropped rapidly with other bookies.
The match itself saw Terek storm to a two-goal lead before Krilya leveled the score. However, with just minutes on the clock, the Chechen side found the net for the third time. A number of Russian sports commentators noted both that the Krilya defense was oddly ineffective as Terek's Sergei Bendz rose to head home the winner and that the visitors showed no real desire to score a third goal.
Russian football has often been plagued by rumors of fixed matches, with Terek's 2004 Russian Cup final triumph over, ironically, Krilya Sovetov, alleged to have been bought for $6 million. The claims have not been proven, however.
"When we won the Russian Cup, there were also those who doubted [the fairness of the result]. These are the same people," Kadyrov said.
Despite the mounting speculation, the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) has declined to open an investigation into the game.
However, Vitali Mutko, the country's minister for sport and head of Russian football's governing body, was far less reserved. "I saw the game, and I didn't like it at all," he said. "I feel ashamed for the Samara club."
He also told Sport Express that the game could be examined by a new Russian Football Union committee on ethics.
The absence of Krilya's two Czech stars, Jan Koller and Jiri Jarosik, added fuel to the fires of speculation surrounding the game, but the giant striker said he doubted the match was fixed.
"I don't think that Krilya threw the game, but if they did, I would leave the team," Koller told Sovetski Sport on Wednesday, adding that he did not see the match.
Krilya said that Koller missed the game due to treatment he needed to receive for his chronic asthma.
"Three days before the match, I spoke to the Krilya trainer and doctor. They told me it would be very hot, up to 35 degrees, and that this would be bad," Koller said.
Jarosik, who was suspended for the game, has denied that he was asked by Krilya to pick up a yellow card in the preceding fixture, adding that he was fined by the club after receiving the caution.
Media reports on Tuesday that Krilya manager Leonid Slutsky had resigned turned out to be unfounded. Slutsky is considered a leading candidate to take over the Russian national team after Guus Hiddink leaves.
The problem of fixed games is believed to be much more of a problem in the lower leagues of the Russian game, but there have been rumors that top-flight defeats in one season could be traded for victories the following year.
Krilya beat Terek 4-3 in Samara last season, with the nature of the victory also arousing suspicions.