Andrey Vatutin views CSKA return as unlikely, notes Russophobia

2022-03-28T15:15:58+00:00 2022-03-28T15:30:42+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

28/Mar/22 15:15

CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin examines the current situation and potential outcomes for his team

By Johnny Askounis/

In an interview with Russian sports outlet Match TV, CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin explained why he considers unlikely the return of Russian teams, including CSKA, to European club continental competitions. Tornike Shengelia was another part of the discussion.

“Will Russian teams actually be able to rejoin European competitions? I don’t think it is likely to happen,” he replied while assuming that there will be peace, “Considering Russophobia in Europe, it is hard for me to imagine a team named after the Russian army, the most decorated Russian team, will be able to return.”

“Even in the case we are not expelled, we will only be allowed to play in neutral venues. And this raises the question if there is a point for CSKA to play in Belgrade or Athens,” he added on his reluctance, “Should we sacrifice our fans to preserve our spot in EuroLeague? I am not sure that would be the right decision.”

Shengelia, 30, recently confessing to not being himself during his stint at CSKA was also discussed and led Vatutin to share his view on the Georgian forward’s stay in Moscow.

“I agree with Tornike. Indeed, he did not succeed in CSKA, he was not himself, he did not become a leader on and off the court, as he did with Baskonia. We can admit he fell short of expectations. Time will tell if Russia, Moscow, CSKA, the gameplans of the coaches, or something else, were at fault,” he said regarding the former CSKA player and current member of Virtus Segafredo Bologna, “He did not insult us. I appreciate his kind words about the team, which once again demonstrate his professionalism.”

“CSKA’s principles will remain the same. We will continue to provide the best for our players, regardless of their country. The families and the players themselves have always felt safe here. Our fans have treated foreign players with love and respect, considering them part of the family,” added Vatutin, “I find it hard to understand Tornike mentioning threats made to his family in Moscow. Shengelia, Lithuanians, and Polish players of Russian teams and their families did receive threats by phone and on social media. Obviously, revealing the countries threatening them is not convenient at the moment. I want to make it clear that we were not offended by Tornike. However, for the first time in the recent history of CSKA, one of our players for one and a half years constantly fought with himself wearing a mask in Moscow, not a surgical mask. Global issues forced him to remove it. He removed it and everything became easier for everyone.”

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war, Euroleague Basketball formally eliminated all Russian teams from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup last week. As noted by Vatutin, that decision was for the 2021-22 season. Among the clubs-shareholders, the team based in Moscow intends to participate in the decision on the future of Russian clubs in Euroleague Basketball competitions.

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