Forget about football

Forget about football

Football players Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev were taken to custody several days ago. They will spend 10 days there, and then they will be transferred to a special cell with more comfortable conditions, video surveillance and increased security, as well as fewer prisonmates. There they will spend the remainder of their pretrial detention. How will their fate unfold is still unclear. According to the law, article on hooliganism, according to which criminal case was initiated against Mamayev and Kokorin, they may spend up to 7 years in prison.

History of their inadequate behavior has been actively discussed these days and there's no need to talk about it again. There's nothing more to say. It's possible that new details will emerge during investigation, which may justify their actions, but it's very unlikely, since scandalous duet basically admitted their guilty. The question is - what punishment will they receive and will there be any punishment at all.

Some people defend them, but the number of their defenders is surprisingly few. Perhaps it's because of the nature of their actions. Some people propose to put them in jail, others to send them to Syria (for some reason) to teach children there how to play football. Some say that authorities should take away their money, but not put them in jail. This proposal seems strange. On what basis should they lose their money and property? Did Kokorin and Mamayev steal something? They didn't. Although there's a chance that players themselves are ready to accept this punishment and give everything away for freedom.

According to law, they may spend up to 7 years in prison. Brilliant player Eduard Streltsov received approximately the same punishment on stranger accusation. Streltsov spent his time, and, after he was released, returned to football. Even though he wasn't as great as before, he was still pretty good. Kokorin with Mamayev can't repeat Streltsov's scenario, I'm sure of it. They don't have his talent. It's unlikely that they even want to: judging by a number of facts they love football itself much less than their distinguished predecessor. In addition, life-long ban from football is also being considered. If this decision will be made, then it won't be right or fair. Because hooliganism is hooliganism, and football is football. In the end, Kokorin and Mamayev, didn't commit any crimes on the football field, they crime has nothing to do with football, their behavior didn't threaten safety of others on the field. Football player is just like any other profession, they shouldn't be banned from it.

Of course, in this context, some people might talk about morals, talk about negative example for hundreds or thousands of boys and young men, and therefore consider such punishment just. But can Kokorin and Mamayev even be considered an example for someone? They are not Messi and Griezmann, how many people actually want to be like them? They have almost nothing to do with recent successes of the Russian national team (successful performance at the World Cup and the UEFA League of Nations). Kokorin healed injury, and Mamayev hasn't be a part of the main team of the country for a long time. It shows what is their place in football and what will football lose if authorities decide to ban them (not much). So it's strange when defenders of Mamayev and Kokorin ask to forgive them for their achievements in the national sport.

I'm don't think athletes should be put behind bars, but I also don't think football can be used as an excuse for their actions. I'm hoping the law will be fair to these young people, who have their whole life - not just football - ahead of them. Everything should depend on how their victims feel about them. Degree of mercy depends on this, on generosity of their victims. In any case, the fate of Kokorin and Mamayev must be viewed outside the football context, purely in the legal field, taking into account views of the victims. We must forget about football. And if they manage to miraculously get out of this situation relatively unscathed, their immediate future will have to be determined by the desire of football clubs to work with them.

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