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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 17, 2006

Spartak want Russian FA to investigate bias claims

MOSCOW, July 17 (Reuters) - Spartak Moscow on Monday asked the Russian Football Union to clean up the domestic game of what they called bias and corruption.

Spartak, the most successful club in Russian soccer history, have accused referee Pavel Kulalayev of bias after they threw away a 2-0 lead against unfashionable Siberian side Tom Tomsk to draw 2-2 in a premier league match on Sunday.

'We're asking the president of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko and head of the referee's committee Nikolai Levnikov to conduct a thorough investigation into the latest scandal involving referee Kulalayev,' the club said on their website.

'FK Spartak intend to seek a criminal investigation into this case,' the club's general director Sergei Shavlo was quoted as saying by Russian media.

'We all know that corruption exists in Russian football. It's a fact,' Spartak spokesman Vladimir Shevchenko told Reuters in a telephone interview, although he declined to name names.

However Shevchenko said that the RFU have promised to investigate the allegations.

'Mr Shavlo spoke to Mr Mutko about the case and the RFU president said they would investigate,' Shevchenko said.

Spartak, though, denied media reports that bitter city rivals CSKA Moscow and their president Yevgeny Giner, who also heads the Russian premier league, were behind any plot.

'We don't want to point the finger at a particular club or an individual behind the recent events,' Shevchenko said.

Neither Russian champions CSKA nor referee Kulabayev were immediately unavailable for comment.

Earlier this year, a Moscow court handed an 18-month suspended sentence to a 51-year-old man for threatening to kill a referee in a Russian premier league match last season.

Vadim Grebenkin was found to have made threatening calls to FIFA referee Valentin Ivanov and his family on the eve of the decisive Moscow derby between Spartak and Lokomotiv in November.

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