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Disgraced Mamaev and Kokorin to be detained for two months

Moscow (AFP) – Disgraced Russian footballers Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin were Thursday ordered to be detained for two months following an unprovoked attack on two government officials, prosecutors said.

Krasnodar midfielder Mamaev and Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Kokorin will remain behind bars until December 8 pending their trial for “hooliganism”, a crime for which they face up to five years in prison, Russian agencies reported.

Both players apologised at the court hearing for their behaviour.

“I am ashamed for the fans and the club, and I apologise for my outrageous actions,” Kokorin was quoted by TASS as saying. 

Mamaev added: “I want to apologise once again publicly to the victims of my scandalous acts. I am ready to make amends for the moral and material damage suffered. I should not have done it.”

Video footage caught the two men attacking two Russian trade ministry officials in an upscale Moscow cafe at the weekend. 

One of the officials, Denis Pak, an ethnic Korean, was hit with a chair while eating a meal. 

Russian Premier League chiefs have requested a lifetime ban for the pair.

Krasnodar has pledged to terminate Mamaev’s contract while Zenit has condemned Kokorin’s role as “disgusting”. 

The Saint Petersburg club removed all shirts bearing his name following reports of the attack. 

Pak’s lawyer Gennadiy Udunyan told Russian state television on Wednesday: “They started to mock (Pak’s) ethnicity”. The players then allegedly assaulted Pak when he made a critical comment.

He added: “He has a concussion.”

Before the cafe assault the footballers attacked the driver of a television host and damaged her Mercedes in a separate incident on Monday. The driver was hospitalised with injuries and a criminal probe was opened.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin — “just like the whole country” — was aware of the incident and described the video as “rather unpleasant”.

Commentators, meanwhile, were keen to underline the players were not part of the Russia team that punched above its weight to reach the quarter-finals as hosts of the World Cup this summer. 

“We should specify that those two…are not currently members of the national squad,” Igor Rabiner, a columnist for the Russian daily newspaper Sport Express, told AFP.

Kokorin last played for the national side in late 2017, while Mamaev was last selected in 2016.

It is not the first time the players’ behaviour has raised eyebrows.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) suspended the pair in July 2016 after a video emerged from a Monte Carlo nightclub in which Mamaev and Kokorin allegedly spent $296,000 (258,000 euros) on a champagne-fuelled party following Euro 2016, where Russia flopped.

Kokorin, who sat out this year’s World Cup with a knee injury, later apologised for his behaviour and was welcomed back into the national team. 

“Now they’re just lowlifes who went berserk,” Rabiner added. “Just ill-bred people who went crazy on the huge money that they receive from their clubs.”

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