Russian Match-Fixing Masterpiece Results In 20 Own Goals
Where else but Russia?
The new standard bearer for bizarre sporting events took place this weekend in Arkhangelsk, a subarctic city in European Russia, in a Russian Super League bandy game between Baikal-Energy and the hosts, Vodnik.
Bandy is a variant of ice hockey played on outdoor rinks with a rubber ball in Russia and Scandinavia. With the playoffs approaching, Vodnik apparently feared a first-round draw with the reigning champs, which could been avoided with a lopsided loss of eight goals, per RT, while Baikal-Energy could have manipulated its postseason path with a loss by any margin.
For the first half of the game, neither team showed much inclination to score, at which point Vodnik’s Oleg Pivovarov scored three own goals. That started the floodgates of self-destruction, as the clubs tried outdoing each other with own-goal sabotage. By the end, Baikal-Energy “won” the match 11-9, with all 20 goals netted into the goals the players were trying to defend.
This appears to be partial footage of the match, with less chaos than you’d expect and a lot more idle gliding around the ice. In a few instances, the team in green tries intercepting their opponents’ scheme, but to little avail—the rink expanse is just too wide.
Needless to say, this did not sit well with the Russian Bandy Federation, whose boss, Boris Skrynnik, told TASS that the match results were annulled and the game would be replayed on Friday at a neutral site. More discipline is expected.
“On the one hand, this is provocation, on the other hand—mere stupidity,” Skrynnik said to TASS. “We will take very tough measures.”
Baikal-Energy coach Evgeny Erakhtin defended his squad at his postgame press conference, saying (per RT), “It wasn’t started by us, we didn’t need that at all.
“We simply wanted to work on the defensive tactics in this game,” he added, “but when [Vodnik] started that circus, and started to score own goals – we replied in the same manner. I don’t want to blame [their] players or coaches. I think it was initiated by the management.”
His counterpart, Vodnik coach Igor Gapanovich, merely said, “For the first time, I got nothing to say.”
There had been talk from Skrynnik about bandy’s future candidacy in the 2022 or 2026 Olympics, but surely such a scandal as this won’t help matters, as this farce of a match is now the first exposure many will have ever had to the sport. But, look around the internet a little longer and you’ll find a change.org petition calling someone “The Bandyfather” with great “Godfather”-style artwork.
In any event, this was a masterpiece in match-fixing.