The spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin has launched a scathing attack on a Monaco party where two of the nation’s footballers were pictured at after they allegedly spent €250,000 on alcohol, just days after their Euro 2016 elimination.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, labelled the Monte Carlo party as “shameless display of conceit” after a video emerged of Russia forward Aleksandr Kokorin and midfielder Pavel Mamaev at the Twiga nightclub surrounded by bottles of champagne while the Russian national anthem played in the background.
According to reports in Russia, the two international stars ordered 500 bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne costing €250,000.
Both players have denied the claims, but they have been fined and demoted by their respective club sides back in Russia.
FC Krasnodar called Mamaev’s actions “outrageous and unacceptable” while a Zenit St Petersberg statement said the club held “extreme disappointment” over Kokorin’s involvement, adding: “Unfortunately, some Russian players can find themselves in these scandalous situations due to a lack of common sense.”
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Kokorin denied ordering the drinks and claims that they were simply in the nightclub while another person’s birthday party was unfolding. “Somebody was celebrating their birthday and we were simply there,” Kokorin told Sports.ru. “Naturally, everybody saw the bottles and heard the Russian anthem, but why put all this on us?”
The nightclub owner, former Queens Park Rangers chairman and F1 team boss Flavio Briatore, took to Instagram to support the players, and claimed that they were attending the Twiga restaurant before moving to the nightclub area to smoke shisha.
“These two guys, Kokorin and Mamaev, came for dinner with their wives,” wrote Briatore. “After dinner they stayed in the club to smoke shisha.
“There was a private party organised by some Russians. They recognised Kokorin and Mamaev and as a sign of respect, as they are fans, they started sending them bottles of champagne and they asked our DJ to play the Russian national anthem.
“Then other Russian clients also wanted to show their respect and sent the two players other bottles, so Kokorin and Mamaev had the table full of bottles. The funny thing is that the guys are not even drinking alcohol.”
Although Peskov criticised the party, he did make reference to the conflicting reports over who had ordered and paid for the drinks, while the head of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin seemed less concern by the incident, as he wrote on Twitter: “Others were pouring the champagne. These two would have just missed the glasses.”
There is a sense a disappointment and anger towards the Russian national team after their dismal performance at the European Championship, where they drew with England before losing to Wales and Slovakia to crash out at the group stage. Head coach Leonid Slutsky has already resigned.
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