Arshavin in hot water after rant at Russian fans | inside World Soccer

Arshavin in hot water after rant at Russian fans

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Andrei Arshavin has risked alienating Russian supporters after being caught on tape saying disappointment at elimination from Euro 2012 is not the players' concern.

Andrei Arshavin fails to lead Russia into the knockout stages of Euro 2012
Andrei Arshavin fails to lead Russia into the knockout stages of Euro 2012

Photo: Getty Images

The Russian skipper had a chat with Oleg Koshelev, a journalist with Russian media outlet Gazeta, in the lobby of the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw after his team 1-0 lost to Greece on Saturday and failed to qualify for the last eight.

"What should we apologise for? What?" Arshavin demanded before repeating the word several times.

The interviewer replied that the team "failed the expectations of millions of supporters" and should have said something after the loss.

"Whose expectations were these - yours or ours? If we did not fulfil your expectations, then honestly, these are your problems," Arshavin said while leaning back casually in an hotel lobby armchair.

The indiscreet exchange may now cost the supporters' darling not only his captaincy armband team but also the respect of legions of fans.

"Such words are not worthy of a captain," former Russian Football Union head and FIFA vice-president Vyacheslav Koloskov told the

"Arshavin has never been in the same shoes as those who, at their own expense, travel long distances to support the team. Many of them risk their health.

"The supporters come to see good football and total commitment from the players and the desire to stand up for their country.

"Instead, the team captain says it is not the players' problem, but the fans. I believe that a captain like this shouldn't be in the team."

A statement on Arshavin's official website emphasised his comments did not apply to all fans but accused some Russians of being too quick to turn on the team when it is down.

"Let us assume that the player answered in a firm manner to those who reproached him," the website wrote.

"So with that, we have to asked the following question: who were those words addressed to? To all fans? No, of course not."

But the statement never contested the validity of the tape or issued an apology.

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