The famous football TV commentator Alexander Shmurnov was taken off the air of Match TV before the Champions League match between PSG and Atalanta, and was not appointed to play in the upcoming second round of the Russian Premier League, media reported. According to them, this happened after the journalist criticized the refereeing in the recent meeting between Spartak and Sochi.
Officially, the channel's management did not announce the removal of the 53-year-old commentator. His absence in the broadcasting network drew attention to the Telegram channel "Razdevalka". The same source said that Nobel Arustamyan will work at the Champions League match, although Shmurnov himself recently claimed that he would report from this game.
According to the Insidelar Telegram channel, the commentator's removal was allegedly initiated by a number of Russian clubs. A complaint was sent against him to Match TV after the journalist spoke out quite sharply about the referee scandal at the game of Spartak and Sochi. Then Shmurnov allowed himself a number of emotional statements about the arbiter Vasily Kazartsev.
“The first penalty is one percent of the penalty, but there was no second penalty. The judges have become too much of a role to play in football. This is even strange. VAR was supposed to release them from this role, to deprive them. And now in all championships they have a new feeling for the right to decide destinies. It was football. And it was arbitrary. In my opinion, this match has the same statistics. Kazartsev awarded two penalties. Spartak was leading 2: 0. Both penalties, in my opinion, were not. “Spartak” lost points already in the first round and settled in the middle of the table, from where it is unlikely to get out, ”said Shmurnov, who is also known for his cheerleading attitude towards Spartak, on the air.
After the broadcast, the commentator continued to comment on the topic of judging on his Twitter. He proposed to replay the game that ended in a draw, to carefully select referees for future meetings with Spartak's participation, and also to invite foreign referees to the games of the Russian championship. The journalist wrote that he would continue “to develop the topic of shameful pressure on the club and outright falsification of the results,” but at the same time promised that in the PSG-Atalanta match he would not speak out about Spartak.
In the comments to Shmurnov's recordings, many fans supported his criticism of Kazartsev. Fans of Spartak's principal rivals expressed their agreement with the journalist's position.
Several famous sports journalists reacted to the removal of Shmurnov. So, the observer Igor Rabiner said that his colleague did not allow such statements, for which he could be removed from the air. He linked the commentator's removal to his sympathy for Spartak.
“Shmurnov, in my opinion, did not say anything that would deserve professional punishment. Apparently, in addition to the fact that in a situation of obvious lawlessness, he spoke out for Spartak the way the situation dictated. And the fact that he is a fan of Spartak - so any commentator, you know, is a fan of someone. But in the structure of "Gazprom-Media", apparently, one can root for only one team. And this is not even Spartak at all, but the opposite, ”Rabiner said.
TV commentator Vasily Utkin drew attention to the fact that last year the Russian Football Union adopted amendments to the rules on ethics that prohibit public criticism of football referees. True, these amendments were not intended for media representatives. Utkin suggested that Shmurnov, with his criticism, could have violated the job description, which would have become a reason for dismissal, but at the same time, he invited him to speak out about the true reasons for withdrawing from the air.
“For all employees of the company, broadcast is a common property. If you disrupt the broadcast, sooner or later everything will collapse. The situation now, even if we exaggerate it as much as possible, accelerate it to the maximum, is completely different. And most importantly, it remains incomprehensible. Suspended or not, by whom and why, by how much - listen, all this is very important. But if help was required, it is probably necessary that the fined person himself explain what is happening. In any other case, these are attempts to be holier than the Pope, ”Utkin wrote in his Telegram.
Former Match TV commentator Pavel Zanozin also commented on the situation with the removal of Shmurnov.
“I think the match should have been broadcast without a commentator. But in our profession, everyone is for himself. And nothing can be done about it, ”the journalist said. He later apologized to his colleagues for his words.