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Armenia’s top sport officials in unethical scuffles

25 November 2009 [12:37] - TODAY.AZ
Much can be said about the way Armenian statesmen talk with each other, often publicly through press conferences or individual interviews. It can even be composed into funny stories, which will not fit in a single book volume.

Sports organizations are not usually state-owned worldwide. Though it might be strange enough, it is the same in Armenia. However, this does not prevent their bosses to be well matched with Armenian MPs, ministers and other officials.

Thus, recently Armenian  Football Federation (AFF) President Ruben Hayrapetyan strongly criticized Gagik Tsarukian, head of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), MP, a prominent businessman, head of the Prosperous Armenia pro-governmental party and finally, a person close to Robert Kocharyan, for his statement he made prior to the match between youth teams of Armenia and Turkey in Bursa. He did it not in a very ethic fashion, precisely, in a style peculiar to the Armenian officials.

At that time Tsarukyan explained his decision by his suppositions of unsuccessful performance of Armenian militia.

“I consider this position and words are immoral and obviously, the situation gets more exacerbated when the president of country’s NOC makes such statement,” Hayrapetyan said at the news conference. “The match of Armenian youth team aged up to 21 years took place in the Turkish city of Eskisehir a day before the Armenian national team played. This is almost an Olympic team. It would be better for him to go to Turkey and watch these guys play. Is Gagik Tsarukyan the Bulgarian Wanga to make such predictions? It would be much better if he went with us to Bursa and helped us with his muscles.”

Mocking at muscles of Tsarukyan, a former athlete, a wrestler, boxer and an arm wrestler, as well as ironic comparison of the NOC head with Wanga gives no credit to Hayrapetyan even if he is right. The conversation in this manner with anyone whatsoever, especially with MP and NOC head once clears indicates the level of ethics of majority of Armenian officials, in the person of head of the Armenia Football Federation.

The situation evolves an additional question. Not every Armenian citizen can afford a quarrel with Tsarukyan. Why doesn’t the Armenian Football Federation President avoid making such a statements? What or whom does he rely on?

One can understand Hayrapetyan just having a look at his biography. The 46-year-old president of the Armenian Football Federation, Rouben Rafikovic, "The German Roubo" by nickname, is a prominent businessman and MP just like Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan and Hayrapetyan have been friends for many years, and Tsarukyan has suggested his friend to join his party on many occasions.

Hayrapetyan had no official party affiliation for many years. When the then Armenian Defense Minister and current President Serzh Sargsyan joined and led the Republican Party of Armenia, Hayrapetyan followed him.

Relations between Armenia Football Federation president and NOC head obviously had cooled since then. One of them worked and did all he wanted under Robert Kocharyan’s wing while the other secured similar support from Serzh Sargsyan. Kocharian was the country's head in 2007, but presently president of Armenia is Sargsyan and this allows Hayrapetyan to make the afore-said statements with great ease.

So, the country seems to live under laws of a communal apartment: all arguments for a bathroom, to use a gas stove, to wash one’s own dishes and other problems are settled in the kitchen in favor of the strong, but not in favor of ethical and well-educated ...

By Hamid Hamidov

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