“Premier Prize” winners receive their laurels in Moscow


On Monday, May 22, in Moscow “Amber Plaza” business center, the Russian Football Union jointly with the Russian Football Premier League staged a commemorative gala evening to celebrate the outcomes of the 2016/2017 “Premier Prize” season.


The event was attended by the top brass of the national football headed by Vice Premier of the Russian Federation, Russian Football Union Chairman Vitaliy Mutko, by veterans, coaches, football players, national team management including head coach Stanislav Cherchessov, as well as Premier League clubs, businessmen and leading mass media personalities.

FIFA World Cup 2018 ambassador, flanked by TV-anchor, supermodel, and incumbent “Miss Russia”, Viktoria Lopireva, along with the “New Radio” channel talk show host, Vadim Voronov, of the coyly titled STARPERTZI (which in English would stand for OLD PEP FARTS), all served as a collective Master of Ceremony at the party.

The gala was addressed with an opening speech from the top administrator of Russian Football, Vitaliy Mutko.

“I would like to felicitate from the bottom of my heart our entire extended football family on the closing of the Russian Football Championship! I would like to highlight the fact that this year the tournament turned out to be rich in suspense, charged with emotions, gave us a gift of dozens of wonderful games, served to usher in new names, and bestowed upon us the gift of a new national champion. We witnessed the ardent strife for qualifying spots into the European tournaments – both the Champions League and Europa League. The last game day of the championship decided which teams got relegated from the Premier League, and which franchises will have to fight their way into staying where they are in the playoff games. Also, without a doubt, this past season made it possible for Russian Football to make several steps in its advancement. We are still just out of the gate on our complex journey. We need to make the most of the unique situation that was bestowed upon us by providence. Russia is poised to host both the Confederation Cup and the World Cup. Our country will be the richer for 12 modern football stadiums, as well as 100 new training centers. This will be the legacy of the Mondial. Once again, congratulations to the national champions “Moscow Spartak”, the runners up, and the national cup winner “Lokomotiv”. Cheers to all at the completion of the season!” – proclaimed Mutko.

Earlier that same day the Football house served as the venue of the Russian Football Union executive committee session, which endorsed the nominees for the national 2016/2017 Russian Football Union Prize as well as the final list of the 33 best players sponsored by Russian National Insurance in the Russian National Championship. All nominees were feted at the gala party. The first award-winning prize recipient was a goalkeeper. This honor was accorded to CSKA- and Russian National Team player Igor Akinfeev. The award-winner himself was unable to attend the ceremony; therefore, the award was handed to the Club’s Press Secretary, Sergei Aksenov by Vladimir Pilguy, European Cup silver medalist and Olympic Games bronze medalist.

On the heels of that, the best defenders were given recognition. Of the four nominees – his army club teammate Mario Fernandez (right-back) and Vasiliy Berezutskiy (center-right back), Rostov-player Cesar Navas (left-center back), Spartak-player Dmitriy Kombarov (left-back) – the only one who made it to the ceremony was the freshly-minted national champion Kombarov. The prize was awarded to him by an advisor to the RFU President, chairman of the Russian Football Veteran’s Union Aleksandr Mirzoyan.

The four best midfielders all ended up being “red and white”. The foursome included Fernando (defensive midfielder), Quincy Promise (right-midfielder), Denis Glushakov (center-midfielder), Roman Zobnin (left-midfielder), and congratulating them was former Spartak head coach Valeriy Karpin. As regards the attacking line, the prize-winning spots were captured by representatives of different clubs – “national team players” Artem Dzuba from “Zenit” (right-forward) and top goal-scorer of the Premier League Fedor Smolov from “Krasnodar” (left-forward).

One of the heroes of the evening was first Vice President of the RFU, 1956 Olympic champion Nikita Simonyan. This legendary figure rightfully claimed his share of applause as well as the prize commemorating his lifelong contribution to the advancement of football. Vitaliy Mutko personally handed the award to the acclaimed football maestro. In his acceptance speech, Nikita Pavlovich remarked that he is happy to have been able to see the day when his native Moscow “Spartak” yet again became the national champion; he also wished the Russian National Team success in their upcoming grand domestic tournaments.

The tenth national title by “Spartak” came up numerous times throughout the evening. Little wonder that the majority of prizes went their way too. Best player of the year award went to captain Denis Glushakov, best coach award was the head coach of the “red and white” Massimo Carrera, and Spartak as such was recognized as the best team of the year. The prizes for the Spartak jolly good fellas were presented by the President of the Russian Professional Football League, Vice President of the RFU Sergei Pryadkin, and by the Chairman of the Russian Association of Football Coaches Mikhail Gershkovich. “Best hopeful of the year” (best amongst the U-21 nominees) was the only nomination where a CSKA player Fedor Chalov topped the list. He was personally congratulated by a famous past-CSKA player and 1966 World Cup bronze medalist Vladimir Ponamarev. Referee toils did not go overlooked either – Vladislav Bezborodov, a FIFA-ranked referee from St. Petersburg, was the award winner for this nomination, with Chairman of the RFU Referee Committee, Andrei Butenko, presenting him with the prize.

The gala party celebrating the close of the season sported a genuinely festive and friendly atmosphere and is bound to stay in the memories of all of its attendees.