Volleyball coach Andrey Voronkov will be suspended for up to two years for his comments.
Russian volleyball coach Andrey Voronkov will be suspended for up to two years after being found guilty of referring to a black player as a «mono,» but the former national team coach has refused to apologize for the incident. Voronkov’s comments came during a Russian Women’s Super League match earlier this month, where his team Lokomotiv Kaliningrad was facing Uralochka-NTMK in a championship decider. During a time out, Voronkov was caught on camera pulling aside Lokomotiv player Valeriya Zaitseva to give her some advice, telling her:”Why are you catching this monkey again?”
The comments were widely taken as a reference to Uralochka black star Ailama Cese Montalvo, who hails from Cuba. The Russian Volleyball Federation held a hearing of its Disciplinary Committee on Thursday, which Voronkov attended and at which it was announced that he would be suspended for up to 24 months.
“The disciplinary commission considered it appropriate to apply a sanction to Voronkov in the form of sports disqualification for up to two years,” read a statement
He added that Voronkov was found guilty of “committing a disciplinary offence, expressed in offensive terms towards a member of the opposing team”.
“Due to great public outcry, the issue of a specific period and conditions for disqualifications will be brought to the next Executive Committee meeting.”
The Russian Volleyball Federation statement added that “despite the obviousness of the situation” neither Lokomotiv nor Voronkov were willing to personally apologize to Montalvo, and instead tried to suggest that the claims were based on media hysteria.
“From the club side, a letter was sent to the [Russian Volleyball Federation]which was presented in a legal style and shifted the focus to the unfounded accusations of racism by the media and the public against Voronkov,” read the statement.
An Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for May 31 to determine Voronkov’s exact fate. The initial incident sparked outrage from Yekaterinburg-based Uralochka, who demanded an immediate apology from Voronkov.
An official also stated that there would be a “international scandal” when the statements were inevitably picked up in Montalvo’s Cuban homeland. Montalvo herself took to social media to say that she would rise above the comments and not do it.“fight evil with evil”. It has since been announced that the 21-year-old will leave Uralochka, although the move is not said to be related to Voronkov’s apparent insult. Voronkov, 54, was boss of the Russian men’s national team between 2013 and 2015 and represented his country during his playing days.
He was on course to lead Lokomotiv to a second consecutive Russian Super League title when the scandal broke, as his side earned a five-set win over Uralochka in Kaliningrad, meaning they sealed the championship series 3-2 in general. The feud has come to overshadow that achievement, with reports that Voronkov’s potential bid to return to the men’s national team head coaching job is now out of the question.
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