Europe

Russia footballers charged with assault and hooliganism

Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin embrace Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kokorin (left) and Mamaev (right) face up to seven years in jail

Two Russian footballers have been charged with assault and hooliganism, in a high-profile case that triggered hot debates across the country.

Zenit St Petersburg's Aleksandr Kokorin and Krasnodar's Pavel Mamaev are accused of attacking a trade ministry official with a chair and also beating up a driver in Moscow on 8 October.

The trade official needed medical treatment after the incident.

The two Russia internationals now face up to seven years in jail.

Kokorin's brother and another man were also charged on Thursday in Moscow.

Kokorin, 27, has 48 caps for Russia, but missed this year's home World Cup through injury, while 30-year-old Mamaev has 15 caps.

The Russian Premier League had earlier expressed its outrage over the players' "rowdy behaviour".

Their respective clubs also condemned the attacks.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption One of the two footballers was seen hitting the ministry official with a chair

The high-profile case has been discussed countless times on Russia's prime-time TV shows, with many participants demanding harsh punishment for the footballers.

There have also been voices in their defence - with supporters saying the athletes should be given a second chance.

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