Sergei Palkin: Yarmolenko hasn’t apologised

FC Shakhtar CEO has answered journalists' questions on the eve of the match with Malmo.

- I think everyone knows how important this game is. Mister has also elaborated on that. All fans surely understand this. It is an important match, so we have to win.

- A question for you as the club CEO. Last week emotions were running high. You expressed your view on the situation regarding Zinchenko. Igor Surkis did that too. Surely you have an answer to his remarks, don’t you?
- I heard about his concept of the sun’ impact on a person. But even if the sun shined 24 hours a day, I could not make this story up because I know for sure, who at Dynamo was involved in it, to whom and what has been said. Therefore, it is difficult for Dynamo to say that it has not happened, there has not been any interest and so on. I think today we have to say that there has not been apology from Yarmolenko. He acted ugly. I understand - the defeat, bad mood. But it is necessary to go through all the situations with dignity.

- What is hidden behind Surkis’ words? Perhaps, he’s trying to avoid the truth? If you say that you know who has been involved in that episode, then who?
- These issues are too personal. But I repeat: this is difficult to make up.

- Why do you not want to reveal the name? Maybe we could contact that person, develop this story further.
- I have expressed my opinion; you can believe it or not. But this is my opinion and I will stick to it to the end. I do not know how much Igor Surkis is involved in all these processes, but there was interest, and it was quite serious…

- Has the interest gone now?
- Igor Surkis has said that they no longer want to buy him. Because if they had purchased him, then it would have become clear how it works.

- In an interview, Zinchenko has said that Shakhtar are still in his heart. Does the club consider his return?
- In life anything can happen. The thing is that what he has done is ugly. So it is him, not us, who knows better how to get out of this situation.

- Let’s go back to the Yarmolenko story. He said that he phoned Stepanenko. Did you communicate with Taras after that?
- Listen, a phone call to Taras doesn’t mean anything. There was no apology and explanation. These are different things, so this is not accepted. The shirt was left lying on the NSC Olimpiyskyi pitch as well as in the minds of our fans. He has said that he supposedly did not think, did not want, forgot... But still, he dropped it, and the other one stepped on it.

- In an interview to uefa. com Mircea Lucescu has said that Shakhtar won’t make new signings until the team's return to Donbass Arena. Is it really so and how final is this decision?
- Meanwhile, the situation is like this. Then, we will see.

- How truthful is information about Teixeira’s departure at the end of the season? Will it be a big loss, if he leaves? How to replace him?
- Everything will depend on the offers. At the moment, the interest is there, but there have not been any real proposals.

- Are Shakhtar ready to part with him?
- We can part with anyone. But it should suit both the club and a player.

- Have you read a letter from Zinchenko’s agent, in which he has mentioned you?
- I've heard a lot of different things from these guys. And he has said many things; I have read the interview. What exactly are you asking about?

- Your reaction?
- Negative! And what other reaction can I have? (Laughs.) The guys are only in interested in money in their pockets, but they are telling everyone that they think about football. They write “a slave or not a slave”... There is a contract that binds the club and the player! In addition, there is the concept of the word, dignity, decency and so on. If it does not mean anything, I do not know what other words and what arguments can be used to address players, who behave like that. And there is nothing to justify them. First of all, today the agent justifies his pocket: they created this project specifically in order to make money. That’s it! I have talked a thousand times about the background. It's one thing if there was another reason: a conflict, misunderstanding between the coach, the club... And in this case, it is a purely financial issue.

- There was this phrase: Shakhtar offered Zinchenko a contract worth UAH 5,000 per month, and after 23 years – 8,000. Is it truthful information?
- I'm not going to reveal the confidential information to you. There is a general system of work with the players of the Academy. I cannot offer the guys sums as in the senior team, right? Everyone understands that. I don't remember any of the sums mentioned, but they are normal - we pay them to all the guys. But the question is not even whether he accepted our terms or he didn’t. He had to see out the contract to the end, regardless of whether he would be offered something in the future or not. But he hasn’t seen it out. These are different things.

- Why are young players leaving Shakhtar now? Bilonog, Vachiberadze... What does it have to do with and how do you plan to deal with it in the future?
- This is normal practise for every club. The main thing is to keep the best! And the best remain.

- It seems that before they did not leave en masse.
- No, not en masse! (Laughs.) Do you think that Zinchenko, Yurchenko and others have gone during one day? No, it has been a two-three year period. You have just combined the players who have left during the above period to say that they flee en masse. Nobody is running away.

- How will you deal with it?
- What do you mean by “deal”? There is a general system of work with the players. In all the academies of all clubs: in Europe, Ukraine - everywhere! You cannot act beyond its framework. We, as a club, carry out all our obligations. We have normal conditions. If Shakhtar have poor conditions, then where are they good, tell me? So it does not depend on us, but in most cases on the agents, whom players pick, and parents who have an influence on their children. The club do everything possible to provide all the conditions for the players’ development. We cannot offer more. No one can. We can do targeted work: steal a player from Dynamo, and Dynamo can steal from us. But it will look like this: come, offer a lot of money and just destroy the whole system! And if we start to fight, then I assure you, no one will benefit from that. Everyone will suffer.

- Do you think that after the scandal with Zinchenko little-known players from lesser-known clubs will be called up by the national team to play from the citizenship perspective?
- I do not think that today in our country there are a lot of people who can say something against Dynamo; basically everyone agrees with everything. But we do not agree, if Dynamo do something wrong, - we'll talk about it.

- Our editorial staff have found five young players aged 17-18, who should be played, and suggested Mykhailo Fomenko to use them in the near future...
- I have read this stuff. But not everything is right there. You have just decided just to write a free composition, right?

- Do you consider the options for strengthening the position of centre forward after the departure of Luiz Adriano? Considering that Douglas Costa’s substitution has been found in the person of Marlos...
- We have Gladkyy, Facundo, who has to prove himself... We have been waiting for the results from Bernard for certain time. But look at him now! Same thing with Ferreyra - he must prove that we did right to sign him. There should be healthy competition - and we have it. Plus the Academy players will improve.

- Shakhtar have told about playing in different cities of Ukraine; in particular, that you will not play your all home games in Lviv. Have you already made any decisions regarding the next match? For example, is an invitation from Ternopol still in force?
- Of course, we will consider it. We will play in as many cities as possible. The issue is that the field must comply with technical standards. Because sometimes we have a good stadium, but the pitch there is terrible, and it’s impossible to recover it during one month. Or, suppose we have a good field and the stadium, but there is no airport - that is you need to go there by bus. So there are a lot of technical things that sometimes don't allow us play in a particular city. But if everything meets our criteria... Our president has set the following task: we have to play in as many cities as possible for many fans to come to see Shakhtar. We have such a position. And we're working on it.

- The match between Dynamo and Shakhtar saw fans of both teams putting on a ‘very serious’ pyro show. Have the club been handed any fines because of that?
- Not yet. I can assure you, in this case they will count every pyro.

- Taking into account the "complexity" of the Ukrainian league, do you think it will be Shakhtar and Dynamo, who will fight for first place, or can other teams compete with them for the league title?
- We have such a “changeable” league that our planning horizon is 24 hours. We cannot say who is fighting against whom, and who else will be on the horizon... You say “complex” league yourself. Naturally, it would be desirable to have as many rivals as possible: it is necessary for all, and especially for the league.

- Will you again say that you want to change the league, its system?
- As for the need to change the format, we have talked about it for a long time and continue to insist on that. Either way, the Football Federation of Ukraine will come to this. It is better to do it sooner rather than later. Once again, when 1,000-1,500 fans attend games, no one needs it. Something has to be done with that! Federation proposed to increase the number of clubs participating, but the main thing is to attract interest. Yes, there is an issue of football leaving some cities. But if there are matches for 500-100 spectators, it seems to me, football has not come there in the first place. It is necessary to understand what goals we pursue. If ratings do not rise, then the situation will not improve. In Europe, there are many different and interesting options of how to hold the championship. For some reason, some clubs, including Dynamo Kyiv, do not want to change anything. They have no desire to play with us  more than two matches. If there are more matches, it will be an issue.

- Does it make sense to introduce some rules about loaning players to avoid situations like the one at Hoverla, whose whole team consist of Dynamo’s players?
- Any limits do not lead to anything good. There are other terms of the rules. If FFU carried out certification of the clubs normally, in accordance with all the criteria, many clubs would simply fail to pass it. Because they do not meet the requirements. Can you imagine a team that do not have their own players? You can register your club and bring there, for example, Dynamo’s players! The same situation concerns betting, which is currently being discussed. It did not exist before. It happens because players do not receive salaries, and they have to feed their families. And they are going to solve these problems themselves. Then again, the question arises: why is the Ukrainian Football Federation not looking at licensing and not adhering to all the other criteria, from the financial to structural? They just have to to say that there are, for example, 12 clubs, who can start and finish the season.

- Going back to the situations with Zinchenko and Yarmolenko… The national team will soon play in the playoffs, how will it affect the mood in the team, in your opinion?
- Positively. Do you want no one to talk about it? Half the stadium asked: who is Zinchenko? And the answer was not received. And we explained it. The national team coaching staff have all the mechanisms to watch and analyse players: video replays, highlights, analytical groups. They are provided with everything. Nobody can tell them what player to pick - this is important. Independence is important. And if the conditions are dictated by one party, then what’s the point of all that anyway? Especially in such an important match. Another thing, if it had been a friendly meeting.

- It was very frustrating when PSG fans did not come to Lviv. Is there any information about Real Madrid and Malmo bringing their fans?
- I think the fans will come; we have not received a negative response yet. I have already said about this subject: the other party just did not want to deal with these issues. If they had turned to history, they would have seen that no problems had arisen. But this is an individual decision of the club.
 

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