Tue, 26 May 2020

Police have detained two Russian football players accused of beating a government official at a Moscow cafe -- an assault that has attracted widespread attention in Russia.

Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin and Krasnodar F.C. midfielder Pavel Mamayev have been accused of beating an official from the Russian Ministry for Industry and Trade, who had rebuked them for behaving improperly.

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Police said Kokorin and Mamayev were questioned on October 10 and taken into custody on hooliganism charges pending a probe.

A video taken by a surveillance camera and broadcast by national television stations showed the official being hit with a chair over his head and slapped in the face.

The players could face five years in prison if found guilty.

Russian media also reported that Kokorin and Mamayev are suspected of assaulting the driver of a car in a separate incident near a Moscow hotel earlier this week that was also caught on surveillance cameras and widely televised.

The incident has topped Russian television newscasts, prompting officials and lawmakers to call for the players to be punished.

The Russian Premier League strongly condemned the 'hooliganism.'

Krasnodar F.C. said it may terminate Mamayev's contract, while Zenit said it would take disciplinary measures against Kokorin.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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