Sunday 24 February 2019

Slutsky's hasty exit

Leonid Slutsky
Leonid Slutsky

Russia's former national coach, Leonid Slutsky, broke an unwritten rule of working on state television when he mentioned President Vladimir Putin's main political foe, Alexey Navalny, by name live on air during a World Cup match commentary.

Slutsky made the taboo remark in current champion Germany's game against Mexico on Sunday, after match commentator Kirill Dementyev used an obscure homonym of the opposition leader's name to say that the Germans should play "high-pressure soccer" to try to overcome a 1-0 losing score.

Ex-Hull City boss Slutsky responded with a quip asking if Navalny plays soccer, adding: "That would be interesting to see."

Dementyev didn't reply on air to the comment.

On Tuesday, after the Russian team all but guaranteed qualification for the World Cup's next round with a 3-1 defeat of Egypt, Slutsky announced that he'll no longer be offering commentary for the country's most-watched channel because he's leaving to pursue other activities.

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