Spartak’s Brazilian forward Welliton was disqualified for six games by the Russian Premier League’s Control and Disciplinary Committee for rough play when he collided with CSKA and Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.
The Russian championship’s leading goal scorer of the past two seasons will not play again until Oct. 28.
Top clubs called for Welliton’s head
Top Russian clubs CSKA, Dinamo and Zenit all wrote letters to the committee asking for a severe punishment, head of the committee Vladimir Katkov said on the website of the Russian Football Union, or RFS.
Out of the three teams, only Zenit is scheduled to play Spartak in that period.
CSKA lost their goalkeeper for at least six months, after he seriously damaged his knee and had to undergo surgery.
Welliton collided with Dinamo goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov in a similar manner two years ago. Gabulov had to miss almost a year with a serious head injury.
The committee did not punish Welliton two years ago, but this time they took into account that it is the second time the Brazilian has caused a serious injury after rough play.
Despite the fact that the committee considered the injury unintentional, the forward was severely punished.
“If it was an intentional injury, the punishment would have been a seven-game ban, but we chose this punishment, because there was no intent,” Katkov said.
Changes to the rules
Now RFS executive committee introduced changes to disciplinary code, increasing the punishment for such fouls.
The new rules state that if the player is guilty of rough play that causes an injury and has done so before, the punishment will be doubled.
“If at the moment, the punishment is a six games ban, then in case that the perpetrator is a repeat offender the number of games will increase to 12,” RFS president Sergei Fursenko told the official website.
Spartak will appeal
Spartak announced that they will appeal the decision.
The official announcement on the club website condemns the decision, particularly the fact that letters from CSKA, Zenit and Dinamo were considered when the decision was made.
“What have Dinamo and Zenit got to do with it? What kind of corporate fix-up is it that substitutes sporting principles? Or are disciplinary sanctions now given out by clubs’ orders? Or maybe by orders of those who stand behind them,” the message said.
Differences of opinion
The first person to react among the Red-and-Whites was their new midfielder Demy De Zeeuw.
“Crazy 6 games when you get yellow card,” he wrote on his Twitter.
Vyacheslav Malafeyev, Zenit goalkeeper who played for Russia instead of Akinfeyev in the last two Euro 2012 qualifiers, said ever player is capable of evaluating the situation.
“Any professional clearly knows whether he can make it to the ball, or not, feeling not only meters, but centimetres. And he decides whether to evade the collision, or to play rough, for example to scare the player so that he looks around, and not at the ball the next time,” he told Sport-Express.