In Russian volleyball, a loud, loud racial scandal erupted. During the decisive match of the final series of the women’s championship of Russia, the phrase of the head coach of the Kaliningrad Lokomotiv Andrey Voronkov was broadcast live. In a conversation with the athlete of his team, Valeria Zaitseva, he demanded to defend more competently against the Cuban Ailama Sese Montalvo from Yekaterinburg Uralochka-NTMK, calling her a monkey. Life understands the essence of what happened and the possible consequences.

What happened?

The current season in the Russian women’s volleyball championship ended with an incredibly tense final series, in which Lokomotiv and Uralochka-NTMK fought on equal terms. The teams alternately took the lead, and everything was decided in the fifth game, which took place in Kaliningrad. During the meeting, the hosts led with an advantage of two games and even had a match point, but the guests from Yekaterinburg managed to restore equality on the scoreboard. As a result, the victory in the tie-break with a score of 3:2 (25:21, 25:20, 26:28, 20:25, 15:7) was won by Loko volleyball players, who won gold for the second time in a row.

To our great regret, the final series will be remembered not only for the bright struggle on the site, but also for the loud scandal that erupted after the award. The fact is that in the end of the third installment, the hosts’ mentor Andrey Voronkov, during a time-out, allowed himself an extremely politically incorrect statement that got on the air of the broadcast. Addressing his ward Valeria Zaitseva, he rudely insulted the Cuban volleyball player “Uralochka” Ailama Cese Montalvo.

Attention, concentration! Let’s let them go, give them oxygen! Why are you catching again? Why are you catching that monkey again? – threw in the hearts of Voronkov.

“Uralochka” demanded an apology from the coach who insulted the black volleyball player. Video © VK “Uralochka”

Why did everyone decide that the offensive phrase referred specifically to Montalvo? The fact is that both teams have only one volleyball player with a dark skin color. In addition, before that ill-fated timeout, it was Ailama who brought the guests several important points.

Who is Voronkov?

The specialist is now 54 years old. Before moving to the coaching department, he had a fairly bright playing career. In 1987, Voronkov, as part of the USSR youth team, became the bronze medalist of the World Volleyball Championship. With the national team, in 1998 he won the silver of the World League.

At the club level, the athlete played for CSKA Moscow, SKA Rostov and Samotlor Nizhnevartovsk. In 1993, he won the Russian Cup, and in 1994, the bronze of the Russian Championship and the silver of the European Volleyball Confederation Cup. In addition, as part of the Netash club, the volleyball player became a three-time Turkish champion and a three-time winner of the country’s cup.

Photo © VK "Locomotive"

Photo © VK Lokomotiv

In 2006, Voronkov began coaching at the Kaliningrad club Dynamo-Yantar. He achieved his first success in this field already with the Novosibirsk Lokomotiv, in 2014 he won the silver of the Russian men’s championship with him. In 2018, the specialist led the women’s team for the first time. As we already know, with the Kaliningrad “Locomotive” Voronkov twice won the gold of the national championship.

A separate line in Voronkov’s track record is work with the Russian men’s team. In March 2013, he replaced Vladimir Alekno himself in this post. Under the leadership of Andrey Gennadievich, the national team won the gold of the World League in 2013 and won the first victory in the post-Soviet history at the European Championship. In the same season, our volleyball players took second place in the World Champions Cup. But in 2015, the Russians suffered ten defeats in a row in the World League, and Voronkov resigned.

Indignation “Uralochka”

In the Yekaterinburg club, the scandal predictably caused a strong reaction. Olympic volleyball champion, general director of Uralochka-NTMK, Valentina Ogienko, demanded an apology from Voronkov. Public apology all over the country.

This is an international scandal. Surely this broadcast was watched in Cuba by the leaders of the local volleyball federation – 100%. You can’t miss this. <...> Andrei Voronkov must officially apologize to Ailama. Even if not in front of us, but in front of the girl. This must happen publicly, just as it was publicly throughout the country, – Ogienko said.

And what does the living symbol of “Uralochka” Nikolai Karpol say about this? Many people think that the legendary coach, who won two Olympics with the USSR national team, and won 25 (!) championship titles in the national championship with the Yekaterinburg club, has long retired. But that’s not the case at all. The 84-year-old specialist is still at the helm of Uralochka, albeit in the status of a head coach. The team is headed by his grandson, Mikhail Karpol. So, Nikolai Vasilievich also believes that Voronkov should first of all apologize.

I didn’t hear it, I was in the game with my team. Since this really happened and it is on video, it is very bad. In any case, you need to apologize. What the All-Russian Volleyball Federation will do, I do not know, but it must take some measures. Maybe disqualification or some other measures, let the federation think says Karpol Sr.

Modest reaction of “Locomotive”

In Lokomotiv, on the contrary, they decided to pretend that nothing terrible had happened. The general director of the club, Alexander Kosyrkov, explained that he was not aware of the scandal, and did not plan to review the match again.

In fact, it’s the first time I hear it. I was sitting on the podium and did not hear the break. I didn’t see that moment at all. Right now I’m not up to reviewing some videos and everything else. I’m not going to rewatch the match yet. I’m not up to it now, Kosyrkov said.

Guberniev severely smashed Voronkov

The commentator and presenter of the TV channel “Match TV” Dmitry Guberniev, who was not accustomed to go into his pocket for a word, commenting on the words of the Lokomotiv coach, was traditionally categorical. He believes that Voronkov should be nothing less than expelled from the profession.

Coach Voronkov – racist! This is clear to everyone! He must be kicked out of the profession with a bang! Just a disgrace! — emotionally wrote the journalist in his telegram channel.

WFV will review the incident

The disciplinary commission of the All-Russian Volleyball Federation (VVF) will soon consider Voronkov’s statements. The organization plans to collect all possible information and clarify the positions of the parties.

At the moment we are waiting for a position from the clubs, athletes and coaches. Of course, this incident will be considered by the disciplinary commission of the VFV in the near future, – said the Secretary General of the VFV Alexander Yaremenko.

What can threaten Voronkov?

According to lawyer Anna Antseliovich, the coach may face not only disqualification by the VFV, but also a harsh reaction from law enforcement agencies. Even an administrative arrest for 15 days cannot be ruled out.

In the legislation of the Russian Federation there is an article 20.3.1 “Inciting hatred or enmity, as well as humiliation of human dignity.” This is the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. The only question is whether the law enforcement agencies will consider the coach’s statement an offense. There is a lot to look at, but there is an article for such cases in the legislation. As sanctions, it provides for a fine, compulsory work or administrative arrest for 15 days, quotes Antseliovich “Sport-Express”.

Repetition of the past

Photo © FIVB

In conclusion, I would like to remind you that a racist scandal has already thundered in Russian volleyball a few years ago. In August 2019, at that time, the assistant head coach of the Russian women’s team, Sergio Buzato, after winning the decisive match of the Olympic qualifying tournament over the South Korean team, portrayed narrow eyes. This gesture was clearly perceived as racist by rivals, and they complained to the International Volleyball Federation.

Buzato apologized for his gesture, saying that he did not mean to offend anyone: he just celebrated entering the Olympics. And yet he was suspended for three matches. It is noteworthy that a few months after the scandal, the Italian specialist took over as coach of the Russian national team. Under his leadership, our team reached the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics. After that, the coach left the team.

Photo © TASS / Egor Aleev

What punishment will Andrey Voronkov suffer?

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