Europe

Chechen leader Kadyrov sorry for stadium PA outburst

Ramzan Kadyrov at a match inaugurating the Akhmat-Arena in Grozny (2011) Image copyright AP
Image caption Ramzan Kadyrov is an avid football fan and former president of Terek Grozny

The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya has apologised for using a stadium public address system to insult a football referee during a match.

When Terek Grozny captain Rizvan Utsyev was sent off on Sunday, Ramzan Kadyrov grabbed an announcer's microphone and shouted: "You jerk!"

Mr Kadyrov later said sorry to fans but not to the official, insisting he deserved to be called corrupt.

The Russian Football Union is to hold a disciplinary hearing later this week.

Local media reported that Terek Grozny could be fined up to 500,000 roubles ($16,300) or forced to hold matches behind closed doors.

Mr Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya since 2005, is an avid football fan and served as president of the club from 2004 until late 2011.

'Serious reasons'

It was the 83rd minute of Sunday evening's game between Terek Grozny and Tatarstan's Rubin Kazan at the Akhmat-Arena when Fifa referee Mikhail Vilkov sent off Utsyev for a second yellow card.

The reaction from Mr Kadyrov was swift and furious. A voice boomed over the PA system exclaiming: "The referee's been bought off! You jerk!"

The outburst triggered loud cheers from the Terek fans.

Later, Mr Kadyrov admitted he was responsible, writing on his Instagram account: "It was a terrible game because the referee was biased. He did everything possible to change the outcome of the match - didn't award a [clear] penalty and gave Utsyev a second yellow.

"I apologise to the whole football world for what I said in the heat of the moment. But not to the referee, he deserved to be called corrupt."

On Monday, the Chechen leader was still refusing to say sorry, declaring that however hard the punishment, Terek were "ready to accept it".

"I had serious reasons to do this," he told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"What is more, my grievances against the referee are not only about yesterday's game."

"The actions of the referee require careful investigation. We must not allow one man to spoil the whole game," he added.

Former player Valery Reingold told the Sport-Express newspaper: "It's a total disgrace to our game. If people at his level make such outrageous comments, then what should we expect from ordinary fans?"

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites