Recognition of Russian players as "Honored" causes scandal in world of sports
Here we are. The successful performance of the Russian national football team at the home World Cup caused a split in the country. More precisely, not their performance, but the government's assessment of it. Recently the players were received by the highest leadership of Russia and were handed out badges and honorary certificates of honored masters of sports. That's how the country estimated the team's quarter-final exit, where in the series of penalty shoot-outs the future losers of the final match - Croatian football players - were more successful.
Great volleyball player Ekaterina Gamova was the first one who criticized the decision to hand the 'Honored Masters of Sport' award to the football players. She was joined by several colleagues from men's volleyball. Although their criticism was reciprocated by counter-criticism, a group of dissatisfied sports figures is growing. It was joined by such known experts as Tatyana Tarasova and Maxim Trankov (figure skating), Evgenie Kafelnikov (tennis). There was indulgent and ambiguous comment from the Russian hockey team, which won the last winter Olympic Games, albeit weakened by the lack of players performing in the NHL, i.e. in the US and Canada. Let's try to understand what is happening, as it seems that the scandal is gathering speed. Of course, it will not make our football players to sprinkle ice with sand before the hockey team's matches, and our hockey players will not put thumbtacks into football boots. But there is nothing good in the disappearance or reduction of sports solidarity.
But criticism of the decision to hand the high award to football players is not directed against the players, who, as Vestnik Kavkaza wrote many times, were in over their heads at the World Cup, but against the approach of state officials who generously reacted to not the most outstanding sporting success.
According to the regulations, the title of the Honored Master of Sport can be awarded for winning a gold medal at the World or Continental Championship, as well as for winning an Olympic medal. The Russian national football team's result does not fit here.
The provision on awarding sports titles also says that the Honored Master of Sport title can be awarded in special cases not related to those listed. Everything can be adjust to this provision. But it is better to look in archives for the players who became "honored", not winning the World, European or Olympic Games. There are many of those: the FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and CSKA football players, who won in the UEFA Cup. Separate Russian football players, who achieved success at European competitions, being part of European clubs - for example, Andrei Kanchelskis, who won the European Super Cup with Manchester United, or Alexander Kerzhakov, who won the UEFA Cup with Sevilla. Tthe Russian national team was awarded the Honored Master of Sport titles for the 2008 European bronze medal. There are football players awarded the Honored Master of Sport title not for sporting success, but for "contribution to development." That is, the current decision is not without precedent.
But there's still a little tense. Not from the criticism of Gamova and her adherents, but from the award ceremony. What was the team's performance at the World Cup? Selfless. All of them fought during all 90 minutes, and even 120 minutes when it was necessary. What else can be noted? Game discipline. What's more? The coach;'s control of the team. That's all? High football skills episodically manifested by individual players. And? Perhaps, that's all. But it's a lot. It was enough for victories over the teams of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for draws with Spain and Croatia in regular time and overtime. The team's quarter-final exit would look like an absurd prediction before the World Cup started, which had nothing to do with the Russian team nudging the ball during friendly matches. That is why the unexpected success against the background of a less successful performance of such traditional favorites as Germany, Spain, Argentina,caused incredible euphoria, which, in turn, caused the decision to award the Honored Masters of Sport' titles. Could they do without awarding the Honored Masters of Sport' titles to the players? Of course.
Still worth listening to the statements of Gamova & Co, who consider that such benevolence of sports officials to football players devalues the Honored Masters of Sport title, and it is really stupid to accuse them of being jealous. What kind of jealousy can the champions have for those who formally were halfway to the victory at the tournament, but in reality - who are far from being the best in the world, like a pedestrian from the moon?!
It is not superfluous to recall that one of the significant components of the championship is luck. They say that the strongest are lucky. This is a subject that should be argued about endlessly, or just agree with it. You never know. Because there are a lot of examples in most game sports, when the outcome of a fight was solved by an accident or a bunch of moments unrealized for unexplained reasons.
For example, the same Russian hockey team could easily not win the last Olympics. And judging by their play demonstrated in Korea, it would be more natural than settling the score a minute before the end of the match, especially playing in the minority because of a yellow-red card. But one accurate goal of the Russian hockey player just before a siren changed the podium positions.
Almost the same thing happened at the football World Cup, with the difference that the Croatians were slightly more successful during the penalty shootout. Russians could be that lucky as well. And then there would be a semifinal, participation in which provides medals, which, in turn, would justify the decision to award football players. Such a success was achieved by the USSR team in 1966, the legal successor of which is Russia. And, in the end, the football Wold Cup stands apart. Unlike other championships, it is held every four years. And the participation of football players in the Olympic Games is still cut down - only teams, composed of players under 23 years old, plus 2-3 older players, can compete at the Olympics.
Without much risk, I suppose that another merit of the current Russian national team's players is that they attracted a new wave of interest in their sport from boys who don't spend most of time on mobile, useful and healthy activities. And, perhaps, it can be considered as the main reason for conferring high ranks to football players. If they pushed tens of thousands of children and teenagers to join football sections and schools, it means that in a few years Russia will receive a team no less strong than the current one. The transition of quantity to quality has not been canceled, and it works practically in all spheres of life.
As for the split in the sports world, we should hope that it will be overcome, not deepened. Any point of view has a right to exist. Especially those represented by important people. But in this case, probably, it will be better for everyone if the topic of awarding football players the Honored Masters of Sport' titles will be closed. No one will benefit from the fact that Katya Gamova will bring ten arguments in favor of her opinion, and some eminent admirer of Russian players will give the same amount to prove the opposite. That's for sure.