Fixed matches in Russia? Part 5 (with video)

Also by The Slacker: mystery novel ‘New Holland’

‘meticulously researched…offers a vivid insight into modern Russia’




The rumours started about yesterday’s Volga Nizhniy Novgorod – Spartak Nalchik game earlier in the week. Volga were going to win. Betfair took a little more money on this game than other similar weekend matches (though not a lot more, as has been the case with suspicious games in the past). And Volga won 1-0. You can watch the goal here. About 40 seconds in are a couple of replays…is that really the best way to defend a corner?

This season the Russian top flight is undergoing a transformation; an 18-month long season will result in a 2012-13 season that will run autumn-spring, as in most of Europe. We’re now in the middle stage of this; after six more rounds the top eight and bottom eight will split off from one another to play in a mini-league fighting for the championship/Europe places, and a mini league fighting relegation.

Volga and Spartak will almost certainly be in the relagation league: though points earned now will be carried forwards, there’s not an awful lot to play for right now. As long as you don’t get too far behind the other sides, the results of these games don’t matter too much.

But then again, perhaps it was just crap defending that was responsible for Volga’s goal.

Saul Pope lived and worked in Russia for five years. He is the author of ‘New Holland’, a mystery novel set in Russia and published by Espresso Books. He also writes about Russia/Ukraine for the football magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’.


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