Football: Four drunk and disorderly Russian officials replaced after drunken outbursts

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The Independent Online
FOUR RUSSIAN match officials, who were in their cups on arrival in Israel, were prevented from participating in the Uefa Cup after embarrassing their hosts with an evening of drunken antics.

Tovi Malach, the local escort for Sergei Kosiano, Sarvon Martinov, Sergei Husseinov and Pavel Ginzburg, said European football's governing body, Uefa, had called in substitute officials from Romania for Hapoel Haifa's match against Club Bruges following an Israeli complaint.

A Uefa spokeswoman confirmed the officials for the match had been changed as a result, and said Uefa would issue a full statement on the affair later.

The Russians' outing got off to a bad start. Malach said they had been under the influence when their flight landed at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport and the alcohol seemed to affect their judgement. He said they attempted to fondle women police officers and at one point broke into an impromptu song-and-dance routine.

Malach intervened to prevent further embarrassment and whisked the four to a waiting car which took them to a restaurant in Tel Aviv.

"The officials kissed the hands of waitresses and insisted on filling their glasses with whisky," Shimshon Amrani, one of the proprietors of the restaurant, told reporters. "They rose from their seats in a drunken stupor and lunged at the bar, but Malach insisted they not be given any alcoholic beverage and that's what we did."

The four continued to harass the waitresses, trying to land kisses and pinch them. "I had to replace the waitresses serving their table with waiters," Amrani said.

At one stage, the referees went into the street and began directing traffic, the restaurant owner said.

Malach said he was awaiting instructions from Uefa on "what to do with the Russians" after the Romanian officials arrive. The four Russians were not available for comment.