In a shocking blog post, Dynamo Moscow's General Director Genadiy Drozdov blatantly accused the referee Nail Saitgaleev (who whistled Lokomotiv-Dynamo game) of being bribed.
We have already reported on the fighting and everything that followed the Lokomotiv-Dynamo game, mainly due to the poor refereeing which led the game to two overtimes. Dynamo officially objected the result to the Russian Basketball Federation but has now taken it a step further accusing the head referee of the game, Saitgaleev, of being bribed ,on his blog which he keeps on the Russian sports website LifeSports .
"We need to change the current system, but it will not be easy. Russian Basketball President, Sergey Chernov, is still backing up ref Saitgaleev despite the fact that he made more mistakes in Lokomotiv-Dynamo game than others do in their entire careers. Everything is simple, he is a "pocket-ref". wrote Drozdov and continued:
"And when he is needed, they invite him and he fixes the result. But sooner or later this must end. We had enough, we can not take it anymore! Or else Dynamo Moscow will withdraw from the league. Dynamo does not want to compete in a "sell-out" league such as this. After all do the refs work for basketball or does basketball work for the refs?" were the words of Dynamo's General Director.
Drozdov continued on his blog entry: "We must fight not only against Saitgaleev. Even if they remove him [Saitgaleev], Petrov will step in, then they will remove him and Sidorov will step in. We must introduce a new generation of refs to the league. Wherever you look, you see the same faces. In rest of the Europe such situations have been dealt with radically. For example we played against "Amsterdam", at half time both teams had two fouls each, did we play agressive defense against Lokomotiv and not against Amsterdam? In that game the refs allowed us to play basketball but here the refs come before basketball. One of Lokomotiv players shot 25 free throws."
When asked why Dynamo is in bad terms with the league he answered:
"Because we have nothing to offer. Like Ural Great in the past and CSKA women team now, which the Superleague eliminated. The Russian Basketball Federation receives a very respectable amount from the teams for each foreigner they register to the league, players and coaching staff. Eight out of the nine league teams have foreign players, many have foreign staff too. These registration fees cost around $100-150K USD for each team. While Dynamo [who has an all-Russian squad] barely pays 100K Russian rubles [about $3500] for registration fees of local players. We are playing with an all-Russian squad of which most of the players are ready for the Russian National Team and this is what we get in return."
It was obvious from the early stages of the league that the relationship between Dynamo and Russian Basketball Federation were not too good when in Week 1 of the league Dynamo Moscow fans presented a banner on the stands against RBF president Chernov, who was attending the game. Payback time maybe?
Evgeny Gomelsky, the younger of the Gomelsky brothers – both legends of Russian basketball – stated after Lokomotiv-Dynamo game: "In yet another game with this referee the game finished with fights and other unfortunate incidents, it has become a norm by now. Dynamo was whistled by a "scandalist". It seems that Lokomotiv wants to cash in on their move from Rostov to Kuban, but they want to do it at all cost."
TalkBasket did more digging about the ref in question and stumbled upon another alleged scandalous game where he was the referee. Saitgaleev was the referee in last season's Russian Women Championship Finals 3rd game between UMMC (Ekaterinsburg] and Spartak Moscow. UMMC won that game [and the championship] but Spratak Moscow had a lot of complaints about the ref in question. Common fact with last weekend's game is that both teams which won did it controversial fashion at their home arenas with the same ref from which both away teams had horrible complaints against.
After UMMC-Spartak game the late owner of Spartak Shabtay Kalmanovich [major basketball figure known for his involvement with Zalgiris, Spartak Women and Russia Women NT who was murdered recently ] had also expressed his anger at Nayl Saitgaleev and leaving hints against UMMC owners [A large metal company in Ural]. The Russian Basketball Federation had even banned Saitgaleev for three months, something which didn't quite please Spartak who requested his life-long ban form refereeing.
According to the Russian Basketball Federation rules when a ref makes serious mistakes he gets banned for three months the first time, six months the second time, one year the third time and a life-long ban the fourth time. According to statements made by Kalmanovich to infox.ru after UMMC-Spartak that was the fourth ban in Saitgaleev's career. According to the rules he should've been banned for life after that game, but he got away and once again caused a scandal in Lokomotiv-Dynamo game.
Another mystery from that game was that initially another ref, Sergey Krug, was appointed for the game, but he was swapped with Saitgaleev later on after UMMC insisted on it and the Russian Basketball Federation agreed on despite the fact that according to the rules the same refs that whistled the second game of the series [Krug] should have also whistled the third game.
The press officer of Spartak, Tatyana Ulyanova stated after the game: "We've watched the last two minutes of the game [which Spartak lost 70-68] with specialists and all the mistakes against Spartak were whistled by Saitgaleev."
With a simple Google search we were in position to see that Saitgaleev has whistled many major international and club competitions all over Europe, for many years. A misunderstood skilled referee or a corrupted ref who works and is protected by the system? You will be the judges.
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