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“The reason is political.” The best club is eliminated from the Armenian championship

Date: May 28, 2024 Time: 20:00:05

There is a scandal in Armenian football! The local football federation unilaterally terminated the lease contract for the Abovyan stadium, where Pyunik played its home games. The Club was on the verge of being withdrawn from the championship because it now has nowhere to play the matches. The FFA refused to allow matches to be held at the Armavir reserve stadium. And before the start of the season, the FFA refused to provide Pyunik the opportunity to hold games at the Republican Stadium. A surprising situation, because the Club is in the lead after six rounds!

Arturo Soghomonyan

President of Pyunik

“In the middle of the championship, Pyunik was immediately deprived of its main and reserve stadium. The nuance is that all free fields belong to the Football Federation of Armenia, and we have the opportunity to play only on the fields of other teams, if they agree. Thanks to Shirak from Gyumri, they gave us the go-ahead and we will play the next round in their stadium. But, of course, we will be forced to leave for another city, which is located about 200 km from Yerevan. “The situation is very difficult.”

The head of the capital club points out: this situation is a selective campaign against Pyunik.

“This is a conscious decision by the federation to expel the legendary club from the Armenian championship. I think that after this Pyunik will cease to exist. It will be difficult. At the same time, we have many footballers, both local and foreign, under contract. Today our player Artak Dashyan is one of the leaders of the national team: he scored a goal in the match against Turkey. However, the federation tries to deprive him of the opportunity to play. There is a lot of absurdity in these decisions.”

Why does Soghomonyan think that?

What is the cause of the conflict?

It all started in August. Firstly, the president of Pyunik said by way of evaluation that, due to the FFA, the Club changed the venue of the second leg of the Conference League with Kalmar, so most of the fans did not attend the match. The federation then blocked the sale of tickets for Pyunik’s home match in the third qualifying round of the Europa League against Bodø-Glimt (0-3). Strange, isn’t it?

After this, the Pyunik management provided fans with free access to the match. UEFA did not like this. The organization imposed a fine on him. Soghomonyan, in an interview with Brontozyabr, explained why the club took this step and also criticized the FFA: “The decision is difficult, emotional, but forced. Our club plays the European cups at the Republican Stadium, which belongs to the Armenian Football Federation. A week ago they officially confirmed to us that tickets for the match would be distributed through the agency, and online sales even began. However, unexpectedly, three days before the game, they informed us that they were refusing to help with ticket distribution. And two days in advance they had already announced that the stadium ticket offices would be closed on the day of the game.

Obviously, the roots of this decision lie in the conflict between our club and myself with the Armenian Football Federation, which does not like the serious problems we raise. This decision, of course, is unprofessional, anti-football, and has already caused confusion among fans. There is no logic in the federation’s actions! They may have a negative attitude towards me and our club, but in this case they harmed the entire Armenian football.

Stadium in Abovyan

Photo: fcpyunik.am

As a result, we were forced to issue tickets without seats, indicating only the stands. Of course, this is also an imperfect solution, but fans now have the opportunity to attend the match and cheer on Pyunik. We will also provide refunds to anyone who purchased tickets online. We know that UEFA will punish us, since according to the rules of the European Football Union at this point in the tournament we did not have the right to allow fans free entry to the stadium. As a result, not only will we not be able to recover all or part of the stadium rent, which amounts to $15,000, but we will also be guaranteed to pay a fine.

And by the way, this is not the first example of such an attitude of the FFA towards fans. In the previous match against Kalmar, the federation refused to rent the Republican Stadium to Pyunik and sent it to Abovyan, whose home stadium has a capacity of 2,800 spectators. As a result, more than a thousand fans who came from Yerevan were unable to attend the match.”

Match between Pyunik and Bodø-Glimt

Photo: fcpyunik.am

Soghomonyan also criticized the FFA in a conversation with “Championship”: “In Armenia there is no Premier League and the championship is organized by the Football Federation. Their responsibilities include organizing a fair championship, a fair championship and judging. For this they receive money from UEFA.

But they also decide to deprive the championship leader of the opportunity to play at home. This is due to Pyunik’s position. Last year we pointed out numerous errors by the Armenian Football Federation. But instead of engaging in dialogue, they declared war on us, and this had such sad consequences.

This year there are elections and they are very afraid of not being elected and they want to solve all the problems with those who do not support them. The reason is not football, it is politics. It lies in the desire of these people to remain in power, while in four years they have done nothing similar. “They are very afraid of not receiving support and acting so incorrectly.”

Arturo Soghomonyan

Photo: fcpyunik.am

Pyunik demands annulment of FFA decision

At the end of the September matches of the Euro 2024 qualification cycle, Pyunik promised to issue an official statement. Why didn’t you want to do it sooner? Out of the desire not to aggravate the situation during the most important matches of the Armenian national team. But on Wednesday, September 13, the news about Pyunik’s position was published on the official website of the Yerevan club. In the statement, the management demands that the decision be revoked: “This, unfortunately, is not the only action by the FFA management in response to the position expressed by the club in relation to his work. Although no one has abolished the right to freedom of expression in our country. Our position is aimed exclusively at the progress of national football.

But instead of a constructive dialogue, we received a reaction from the FFA leadership, which time and again damages not only our club, but also the general image of Armenian football on the international level. The attitude shown by the latest decision of the FFA management towards the Pyunik football club and our fans does not fit into any civilized norm. We demand that this anti-football decision, which goes beyond the scope of sports ethics and causes confusion not only in Armenia, but also far beyond its borders, be annulled.

“We call on FFA leaders to focus on fulfilling their immediate responsibilities, including organizing a fair and impartial Armenian championship.”

Pyunik footballers

Photo: fcpyunik.am

Soghomonyan points out that the problems not only affect Pyunik, but all of Armenian football: “In Armenia there are problems with national football, with the national championship. Few people go to the stadiums, each year the number of spectators decreases because the teams abandon the championship. Five clubs have already left in the middle of the championship. Due to the poor performance of the federation, the teams simply stopped playing and investors stopped financing. Now it’s Pyunik’s turn. As long as we resist.”

Arturo Soghomonyan

President of Pyunik

“We still don’t really know what to do. Pyunik found a field for a game. In principle, Shirak can continue to give us a field, but it will be absurd when the Yerevan team with the largest army of fans plays in Gyumri. The fans support us a lot. There are many words of support in Armenia and abroad. Some offer help, sometimes fun. They offer to go to another championship: to Georgia, to Russia. But this, unfortunately, is legally impossible. I hope we can win.”

Whats Next?

The Pyunik president stated that the club will not stop and will use all tools to restore justice: “We are contacting FIFA and UEFA and will continue to do so. We will use all legal methods. We went to court because this decision was illegal from the beginning. We deprived ourselves of the opportunity to play not because of any infraction, but simply because of our position. We pay on time, the fans behave well. They wrote to us: “Because your president opposed the federation, you will be deprived of the field.” “It’s all very cynical.”

It is interesting that Pyunik suffers not only from the actions of his own federation and UEFA, but also from the actions of other states. The Lithuanian consulate in Armenia refused to issue Schengen visas to Russian citizens playing for Pyunik before the second leg of the Conference League first qualifying round against Estonian club Narva Trans.

The Yerevan team finally won 3:0 and advanced, but there was still an aftertaste. Soghomonyan noted that the situation with the refusal to issue visas violated the principle of justice. Now the club has to prove its legitimacy in the fight against the Armenian sports leaders.

Details of the scandal

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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