Two Russian national team players have been punished by their clubs after video of them at a champagne-fuelled party in Monaco following the squad’s dismal exit from Euro 2016 sparked outrage.
Russian media reported that midfielder Pavel Mamayev and forward Alexander Kokorin allegedly splashed some 250,000 euros on 500 bottles of champagne for revellers at a night club in Monaco.
Shaky internet footage of the event that went viral showed waiters carrying dozens of bottles of bubbly with sparklers attached to them as the Russian national anthem blared out in the background.
Kokorin’s club Zenit said late on Tuesday that they had demoted him to the reserves while Mamayev’s team FC Krasnodar announced he would be training with the youth squad. Both players were also fined.
“Unfortunately, Russian footballers often get themselves into scandalous situations because they lack a sense of restraint and culture of how to behave in public places,” Zenit said in a statement.
A Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin had heard of the incident and that “God would be the judge” of the players if they were responsible for the party.
“Of course everyone has heard about this excess, including the president,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“We have to be very careful and work out to start with whether our footballers paid for this beastliness or someone else,” he said.
The owner of the Twiga nightclub where the two players were seen partying denied that they had ordered the champagne and insisted the pair were out with their wives and did not drink the alcohol.
“There was a private party in Twiga organised by some Russians,” club owner Flavio Briatore wrote on Instagram.
“They recognised Kokorin and Mamayev and as a sign of respect, as they are fans, they started sending them some bottles of champagne and they asked our DJ to play the Russian Anthem”.
Russia was dumped out of Euro 2016 at the group stage after managing only one draw against England before losing to Slovakia and Wales.
The dismal performances ignited fierce criticism of the team and saw manager Leonid Slutsky step down.
Russia is gearing up to host the World Cup in 2018 but the next national manager faces a tough task trying to turn around an ageing squad.