St. Petersburg: Three days after the news about Russian forward Alexander Kokorin's boisterous party at a Monaco luxury night club set sporting circles abuzz, the footballer apologised on Friday.
Life.ru news portal reported on Tuesday that Kokorin and another national team footballer Pavel Mamaev were partying at Twiga club and ordered some 500 bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne costing 500 euros ($553) each, with the total bill reaching 250,000 euros (around $276,000), according to Tass.
Life.ru quoted an eyewitness as saying that champagne was served while the Russian national anthem was playing and the party was accompanied with a fireworks display.
The incident drew a public outcry, particularly after the national team’s poor performance at the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France last month.
Kokorin told TASS on Tuesday that he and his teammate Mamaev had nothing to do with paying for the party.
Kokorin was disciplined with his transfer to Zenit club’s second team while Mamaev who plays for FC Krasnodar was transferred to the club’s youth squad. Both footballers will be also fined.
"Unfortunately, I permitted a situation, due to which such a scandal erupted. I would like to make an apology. Without finding excuses, I would like to say that I have nothing to do with that champaign and those sums and, importantly, nothing to do with the situation that the Russian anthem was played," the footballer told journalists.
"I feel stressed that we have performed so poorly in France and I’m not relieving myself of the responsibility for that," the 25-year-old added.
"We had absolutely nothing to celebrate and we became hostage to the situation that we spontaneously came to that club," Kokorin said.
The footballer said his further fate depended on a decision of the club’s management.
"Perhaps, it was right to convene our small press conference. I’ll be preparing (for matches) in Zenit-2 [Zenit’s second team performing in the second-level Football National League] and will receive further instructions from the management. I had a talk with the Zenit directors. I’ll be fined but I don’t know for how much," Kokorin said.
"It is normal to discuss the failures (of the national football team). People of the country with the multi-million population waited for the results but failed to see them and so they have the right to show their indignation," the footballer said.
Last month the Russian national team lost to Wales 0-3 in its third group stage match of the 2016 Euro and failed to qualify to the next round of Last 16.
Playing in Group B at the Euro Cup, which kicked off on June 10, Russia ended their match against England with 1-1 draw, then lost their encounters with Slovakia and Wales 1-2 and 0-3 respectively.
Having finished in the last place of the group, the Russian players, who are reportedly enjoying enormous salaries in the team, returned to Moscow. Some players decided to linger in Europe taking a vacation.
Russian Sports Minister and President of Russia’s Football Union, Vitaly Mutko said that considering the act of defiance to society made by Kokorin and Mamaev, chances were little for these footballers to return to the national team.
According to the minister, a new chief coach of the Russian national football team will be recommended to consider the footballers’ behaviour.