Friendly football match held between MIA and US embassy
Acting chief of mission of the United States, Nicholas Berliner has thanked heads of various MIA Departments and employees for the cooperation and handed out certificates of appreciation on behalf of the US Embassy.
After the ceremony traditional friendly match was held between the teams of MIA and US Embassy which was won by the Georgian law enforcers scoring 11:8.
The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Merab malania, Nicholas Berliner, general prosecutor – Irakli Shotadze, head of Special State Protection Service –Anzor Chubinidze, employees of the US embassy and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“I would like to thank US embassy foe positively assessing activities carried out by Georgian law enforcers and once again noted our fruitful cooperation. Today’s friendly match is another example of our close cooperation and 25 years of successful diplomatic and friendly relations. Such events will bring us even closer and strengthen tight, business and friendly relations between our countries”-stated Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs –Merab Malania.
Friendly football match between the MIA and the US Embassy was held in Tbilisi for the third time.
EU reacts to recent developments in Georgia: “We urge all sides to remain calm”
On 21 June, the EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi made a statement following recent developments in the country.
“We are following very closely events at the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi this evening,” the statement said. “We recognise the hurt that many people feel today.”
“We urge all sides to remain calm, show restraint and act within the framework of the Constitution at all times,” concluded the statement.
You Can Learn A Lot About Ukraine By Watching Its Football
Ukrainian football, which managed to survive shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, embarked on a new model of development beginning from the 2000s. The start of the new millennium in Ukrainian football was marked by wealthy businessmen and oligarchs buying or gaining control over the clubs, thereby reflecting the developments that had been occurring in the socio-political and economic life of the country.
Ukrainian football has become a favourite toy of Ukrainian oligarchs. On the one hand, it gave a short-term boost to football with the impression of a flourishing future; but, on the other hand, it has led to disastrous consequences, with many clubs ceasing to exist, a reducing in the number of clubs able to perform in the national tournament, the Premier League, and huge fall in attendances at games, among other things. So, when you see football declining, this means oligarchs have less money than before.
"OLIGARCHIZATION" OF UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL
In the early 1990s, Dynamo Kyiv, the most decorated Ukrainian football club, came under the control of Hryhoriy Surkis, a Ukrainian businessman and politician, and then passed to his younger brother, Ihor Surkis. Rinat Akhmetov, reportedly the richest man in Ukraine, laid his hands on Shakhtar Donetsk FC carrying his team to the biggest success in the history of Ukrainian football in independent times -- victory in the 2007/2008 UEFA CUP tournament.
Other oligarchs have taken the path of these two: Oleksandr Yaroslavskiy, a Kharkiv-based business tycoon, bought Metalist FC from the same city; Ihor Kolomoyskiy, one of the most scandalous oligarchs, became the owner of Dnipro FC, while allegedly keeping the financial influence over the Kryvbas (Kryviy Rih), Volyn (Lutsk) and Arsenal (Kyiv) football clubs. Other clubs have also fallen under the control of oligarchs. Petro Dyminskiy, a Lviv-based businessman, became the president of Karpaty (Lviv), Kostiantyn Zhevaho, a Ukrainian billionaire, became sponsor of Vorskla (Poltava), Yevhen Heller, a businessman and former MP, started financing Zorya (Luhansk), etc.
Because of this, football has turned into a game of oligarchic nature, with clubs playing the role of toys in the hands of business tycoons and being overwhelmingly dependent on the financial injections of their owners.
Such a state of play reflects developments within the country. The oligarchic and clannish model that has been prevailing in Ukraine's economic and socio-political life has moved to national football. Clubs have become a tool to "do a little muscle-flexing" and play political games between competing rivals. Moreover, they also served, in some cases, as a source to partially legalize revenues invested in football, which had been obtained while committing allegedly corrupt activities. Successful clubs have also showed that there is a lot of "free money" in the economy that oligarchs invested into sports entertainment.
On the one side, backed by some local successes on the international arena, the rising flow of well-skilled foreign players coming to Ukraine and increase in the number of fans coming to games, it provided an imaginary conviction that Ukrainian football has become as wealthy as European football.
But, on the other hand, this model showed its key weakness too: total non-resilience amid economic and socio-political hardships that the country may face and great losses that the moguls who own clubs may sustain.
This trend has become most evident after Euromaidan and the start of Russia's war against Ukraine. The harsh economic situation in the country has hit oligarchs as well: they massively began to give up on their football-related commitments by drastically cutting spending on the clubs they owned or even abandoned them. In such harsh circumstances, oligarchs realized that their clubs had become "suitcases without a handle". As a result, just three years on from 2014, and 20 professional clubs in Ukraine ceased to exist, while many others are eking out a miserable existence. Moreover, many people stopped visiting stadiums, which led to record-low attendances at stadiums.
WESTERN MODEL: FOOTBALL AS BUSINESS
One of reasons that led to such bad consequences is that, over the years of their functioning, national clubs had failed to profit from football. Despite the fact that wealthy businessmen owned Ukrainian clubs, football has hardly developed as a business. Contrary to the Western model, where football and sports is seen primarily as a business activity, in Ukraine it was perceived, to one extent or another, as a way of competition between dissenting business and political camps.
In the West, the understanding of football as a business is common knowledge. According to the 2018 Football Money League report provided annually by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, revenues of the 20 most-generating clubs reached EUR 7.9 billion in 2016/2017, with England's Manchester United securing its position at the top of the rating with more than EUR 676 million revenue in 2017. By comparison, the budget for the whole Ukrainian Premier League (UPL) tournament in 2018 was UAH 13 million (approximately USD 480,000), as former UPL head Volodymyr Heninson said.
The English Premier League (EPL) has best mastered such a business model. Among the TOP-5 European football leagues, it is first in terms of revenues. In 2017, EPL's revenues came to EUR 5.340 billion, followed by the Spanish La Liga (EUR 2.899 billion) and German Bundesliga (EUR 2.799 billion). Out of the EPL's entire amount of revenue, more than half (EUR 2.910 billion) was generated by TV broadcasting contracts and EUR 1.250 billion was earned due to sponsorship deals and other commercial activities.
Thus, the Premier League remains the most intensely marketed football league in the world. The EPL has the biggest representation in the TOP-10 list of the most valuable brands, with six clubs being there, alongside 2 Spanish clubs, and just 1 German and 1 French. The marketable value of all players that play in the EPL is also record-breaking and reached EUR 8.3 billion. By comparison, the total market value of all the players of Ukrainian Premier League in 2018/2019, was according to Transfermarkt, evaluated at almost EUR 285 million.
The poor condition of national football has on many occasions been confirmed by club owners. In 2009, Oleksandr Yaroslavskiy, the then-owner of Metalist FC, admitted that his club is "a non-performing asset," saying, moreover, that there will be no possibility to make money out of national football in the next 10 years. Nine years later, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, ex-owner of Dnipro FC, confirmed Yaroslavskiy's words, describing his former football club as a project that leads to losses. "Football [in Ukraine] has almost died," he stressed. In an interview with Viktor Vatsko, one of the most prominent Ukrainian football commentators, in early 2019 Ihor Surkis, President of Dynamo Kyiv, answering the question about the business attractiveness of the club he owns, confessed that only if Dynamo was controlled by a true businessman could it have been seen as an asset capable of generating profit.
Such a trend is confirmed by statistical data. The figures presented by a report by UEFA, the body that runs European football, shows that Ukrainian Premier League clubs suffered losses of EUR 60 million in 2017.
WHAT IS THE WAY OUT
The oligarchic model of football management has been dominant in Ukraine for many years. However, the transformations that have been taking place in Ukrainian football since 2014 may finally become a game changer for the whole sector and lead to its future step-by-step revival.
Financial optimization is one of the tools that may, in the long-term, help Ukrainian football to get back on track. Denys Bosianok, a Ukrainian football commentator, even advocates making football salaries match the real situation in the country
Andriy Kovalenko, in his article for Dilova Stolytsia, predicts that full deoligarchisation and drastic changes in deeply rooted approaches of managing football in Ukraine are key preconditions for the game of millions in the country to begin getting up from its knees. This may, first of all, result in the total decadence of the professional football in Ukraine. However, in the long-run, it might open a new window of opportunities for the clubs, which, after years of stagnation, should realize that living within their means is precisely the way it should be done.
After the rehabilitation, new investors, in cooperation with local authorities and communities, as well as professional football managers, should become the force that will provide a helping hand for a club to survive and develop based on internationally-accepted business models. However, in order for this to become true, the overall economic prosperity of the country should also increase significantly. And the transfer from oligarchic and clannish model in the country's socio-political and economic life is paramount in this regard.
The German model of football management may serve as an example in this situation, subject to certain specifics that Ukrainian football has been living with for years. According to the German legislative framework, at least 51% of shareholders in a club, with some concrete exemptions, should constitute sport communities and football fans. It significantly minimizes the possibility for big moguls, including from those outside the country, to come into German football and establish control over its clubs. On the contrary, this, alongside professional football managers that are involved, provides for maintaining sound economic policy, which allows for profits to be earned from organizing football with further investment in a club's development. Such a model has already confirmed its feasibility: the German Bundesliga ranks third is in the TOP-5 European leagues in terms of revenues it generates (EUR 2.799 billion in 2017), just slightly behind Spain's La Liga.
Thus, the evolution of Ukrainian football from the oligarchic nature of management to the business model, alongside a rise in living standards in the country, may become the factor that will change the rules of the game and contribute to football getting back on track.
Analyst and journalist, Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld
Mini-football tournament under the auspices of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held in Tbilisi
The Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held a mini-football tournament in the Olympic complex in Tbilisi, which was attended by representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia, media representatives, as well as citizens of Turkmenistan.
Starting a sporting event, its organizers noted that from April 5th to May 5th, a month of sports and fitness events is held annually in Turkmenistan, and foreign diplomatic institutions of the country are also involved in this relay, initiating sports events in different countries.
At the end of the tournament in Tbilisi, its winners were awarded prizes and memorable awards.
The Friendly Match in the frames of the 25th anniversary of Georgian-Canadian friendship and diplomatic relations
On October 28, 2017, The Georgian National Baseball Team held a friendly match with Georgian Baseball youth team. This friendly match was organized by The Georgian and Canadian Friendship Association and fully devoted to the celebration of 25th years of Georgian-Canadian Friendship. Before the match, Director of the Georgian and Canadian Friendship Association Mr. Ilia Zukakishvili addressed the guests to the stadium. He said aim of organizing this match was to bring Georgian and Canadian communities closer.
Today our friendly game again highlights the strong relationship and partnership between Georgia and the Canada. As I am Director of the Georgian and Canadian Friendship Association, I will do my best to deepen the friendship between Georgian and Canadian people. I am always ready to cooperate with our strategic partners to achieve the best results for our country. I believe that the Canadian will always be loyal to Georgia and I believe the main reason for this is that Georgia is loyal to friends and to friendship. Long live to Georgian and Canadian people and we cheers for the friendship between Georgian and Canadian people. God bless our friendship! Georgian audience and Canadian guest enjoyed the friendly match and Georgian snacks.
The official supporters and Sponsor of the event were: Georgian Baseball and Sophthabol National Federation, Aviation Company “Georgian Airways”, Company “TELAVI WINE CELLAR“ News Agency “NEWSDAY.GE”, “FRONTNEWS”, “GEOMEDIATV.GE”and English Newspaper “The Messenger ".
In honor of 25th anniversary of Georgian-Canadian friendship and diplomatic relations, the Georgian and Canadian Friendship Association will organize various activities throughout Georgia by the end of 2017.
WEEK DEDICATED TO THE TRAFFIC SAFETY WAS LAUNCHED AT MIA
Under the initiative of the Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili, week dedicated to the traffic safety was launched. The opening ceremony was attended by the representatives of non-governmental sector and media representatives.
“Path to West is the choice of our society. This is our choice, which is defined by the respect of law and primarily implies maintenance of the traffic movement rules. Nonetheless, I consider that tackling of this problem will not be reached only with the involvement of the Patrol Police Department, even if law enforcers will make their best efforts. Motivation of our society and caring for each other’s lives also counts as well as willingness to make another thoughtful step towards traffic safety. Decision made by each of us is of utmost importance”-stated Minister of Internal Affairs.
At the event, representatives of Legal Department of MIA acquainted gathered guests with detailed information on the legislative changes regarding traffic safety, which will be enacted on July 1 of the current year.
Head of Public Relations Department Thea Pertaia reviewed the social campaign- “For the sake of you and your safety” and made a presentation on implemented and planned activities in this direction.
At the event, Minister of Internal Affairs awarded active participants and supporters of the social campaign with certificates of gratitude for having high social responsibility. Special certificates were also handed out to journalists, non-governmental and private sector representatives as well as public figures. Within the frames of the week dedicated to the traffic safety, photo contest has been announced by MIA which is open to everyone. Special jury will reveal the owners of the first three places, who will be awarded with a cash prize.