Ex-convict Kokorin completes Spartak Moscow switch

Moscow (AFP) – Russia international forward Alexander Kokorin, who spent nearly a year in prison over a night of drunken assaults, has signed a three-year deal with Spartak Moscow, the club announced Sunday.

Kokorin, 29, rejoined Zenit St Petersburg following his release from jail last September but was loaned out to Sochi in February, scoring seven times in 10 games to help the club avoid relegation. 

“I want to be in good shape, to help the team as much possible and bring back the Spartak that everyone loves: attacking, efficient and triumphant,” said Kokorin, who played for Russia at the 2014 World Cup and two European Championships in 2012 and 2016.

Including time in pre-trial detention, Kokorin served 11 months of an 18-month sentence for hooliganism, after he and fellow footballer Pavel Mamaev were found guilty by a Moscow court in May 2019.

In a booze-fuelled night in October 2018, Mamaev and Kokorin first assaulted the chauffeur of a TV presenter in a car park. 

In an assault caught on video, they then attacked two government officials in an upmarket cafe, hitting one with a chair.

The Russian Premier League at one point considered a lifetime ban for the players.

Instead, Kokorin will join a Spartak side that finished a disappointing seventh last season and missed out on European qualification.

Kokorin, who won the last of his 48 Russia caps in November 2017, could face his former club Sochi when the new league season begins next weekend.

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