As part of our project “Football and the Mafia”, which started, in fact, last year, we continue to publish sharp notes about vile phenomena in the popular game that are invisible to the fan’s eye.
Today, especially for the Cheka-OGPU and Rucriminal.info, sports journalist Alexei Matveev reports new details.
RUSSIAN MAFIA JOSEPH BLATTER
Few people know that in the 90s, popular masters claimed power in Russian football. The leader of the movement was the famous goalkeeper of the capital’s clubs “Torpedo”, “Spartak” and the USSR national team Anzor Kavazashvili. He even created the All-Russian Football Association (VAF), registered it with the Ministry of Justice. In collaboration with outstanding players – Viktor Ponedelnik, Valentin Ivanov, and others.
But something went wrong…
– We only later realized that the then Secretary General of FIFA Joseph Blatter he was just waiting for his friend, the “unsinkable” Slava Koloskov, to also register his Russian Football Union (RFU). And then – a matter of technology, automatic admission to FIFA membership, – Anzor Amberkovich recalled. – Koloskov’s long-standing contacts with the leadership of the International Football Federation, his close business ties, personal relations with Blatter …
A month after the WAF conference, the Koloskov RFU held its forum. Everyone in a row and anyone was called to him, up to shoemakers, porters, masseurs, and so on. They plucked people even from pre-season training camps, just to collect a “quorum”. At the conference of the RFU there were, of course, those specialists who had voted for Anzor Kavazashvili a month earlier.
– One can only be proud of them and even admire them, – the football master remarks not without a touch of irony. – Still, they fit in their hearts at once two leaders – me and Koloskov. The case is unique.
Yes, due to the spinelessness, infantilism and unscrupulousness of the football people, the national fun of the Russian people is still in the background. “Fixed” matches, biased arbitration, “black” betting are rampant, “bugs”-agents are scurrying about, inciting players to participate in dishonest, behind-the-scenes deals. All this with complete indifference and inaction of the sports authorities.
DIRTY MONEY OTARI
In the midst of a struggle for power in football, Anzor Kavazashvili and his friend Valentin Ivanov went for advice to the patriarch, Nikolai Petrovich Starostin. During the conversation, Starostin unexpectedly said: they say, you, Anzor, need to … change your last name. To try to Russify. Well, Georgians cannot manage Russian football.
– We looked at him as if dumbfounded: we have never heard anything like this in our lives. And our beloved grandfather seemed to seriously continue: his son-in-law, an Armenian, changed his last name, and he feels great.
In the midst of Kavazashvili’s “warm” relations with Koloskov, the president of the Lev Yashin Athletes’ Social Protection Fund, the very colorful Otari Kvantrishvili, the leader of the criminal world, came to the fore.
– Somehow I asked Otari for money for our outstanding athletes, at one time I worked as deputy chairman of the Union of Athletes of the USSR, – said Anzor Amberkovich. “I respect you, but I won’t give you cash,” answered Otari Vitalyevich. “Prepare a list of veterans, and then I will transfer it to each personally from the account of our fund.” That’s exactly what I did. Indeed, a couple of times Otari transferred funds to athletes in need at that time.
– Somehow in the lobby of “Intourist” I see Otari, – says Anzor. We greeted each other and exchanged a few phrases. “Why are you all fighting with Koloskov? Otari suddenly asked. “Do you want me to make you his first deputy?” – the freestyle wrestler did not let up. “Yes, I can’t do this,” I answer. – You created an association, attracted respected people, and now you are proposing to drop everything and merge it? Don’t be like this.” “If you don’t want it, do as you like,” Otari said as he snapped.
– Apparently, Kvantrishvili and Koloskov communicated regularly, and Otari had a certain influence, – the goalkeeper suggested. – How else to explain the frequent visits of the President of the Social Security Fund to the apartments of the RFU, his presence at some meetings, meetings of the executive committee of the RFU, press conferences.
Meanwhile, communication with Kvantrishvili at Intourist was not the last for Kavazashvili. A gala evening dedicated to the birthday was held at the Sports Palace on Lavochkina Street in Moscow Lev Ivanovich Yashin. Of course, Otari was not just present, but was the host of this holiday. And now the floor was given to Anzor Kavazashvili, because he played with Yashin in the national team of the Union, one might say, they ate more than one pood of salt. “Friends! – the famous goalkeeper addressed the audience. “Let’s roll up our sleeves and work for the good of our sport with clean hands and a warm heart.” It seemed that the words should be perceived normally, even with a bang. However, Otari himself reacted differently to Anzor’s performance.
– I said this without any ulterior motive, sincerely, and could not even imagine that I would offend Kvantrishvili, – Anzor Amberkovich was surprised.
After a while, Anzor met with Otari again. The football master wanted to ask an acquaintance influential in sports circles: they say, is it possible, for example, to delegate part of the authority for holding competitions to him, Kavazashvili, to the VAF? Otari answered angrily, which unpleasantly struck his Georgian compatriot: “I won’t do anything for you!” Otari seemed to be furious. “What happened, why did you change to me like that?” . “Like what! With a warm heart and clean hands you offer. Do you think my hands are dirty?!”
It can be said that recent acquaintances had a fight. They never met or talked at all. Kavazashvili was only at the funeral of Otari in April 1994, when the president of social protection was shot dead at the exit from the Krasnopresnensky baths in the capital. And after the funeral on Vagankovo, everyone was taken to the restaurant of the Moskva Hotel, where they honored the memory of Otari Vitalyevich. Anzor Amberkovich did it together with Kobzon, his childhood friend Anzori Kikalishvili, Otari’s wife…