Football Passions Flare in the Media

Armen Nikoghosyan


On October 29, an unpleasant incident occurred at the Gyumri City Stadium, which the Armenian media widely reacted to.

Three days after the Shirak–Alashkert match of the Armenian Premier League, the Football Federation of Armenia published the disciplinary committee’s decision.

According to the decision, FC Shirak’s administrator after the match attacked the opponent’s coach, for which he has received an appropriate punishment (disqualification for 5 matches and a fine of 150,000 AMD).

And since peace and order was disrupted at Gyumri stadium, an appropriate punishment was again administered (1 match without spectators and a fine of 150,000 AMD).

FC Alashkert coach Abraham Khashmanyan, in turn, was disqualified and fined for inappropriate behavior (disqualified for 10 matches and fined for 200,000 AMD).

In the 11 rounds of the Armenian Premier League, Khashmanyan has been punished for “improper” behavior already for the third time.

Just minutes after the end of the match, ArmSport.am reported that “after the end of the match, Gyumri fans cursed then attacked and beat Alashkert’s head coach Abraham Khashmanyan.”

Citing ArmSport.am, ArmeniaSputnik.am, NewsInfo.am, Aravot.am, RadioAurora.am, and other news sites immediately published this news, some of them even verbatium without citing the source.

It’s interesting that there were yet no reports by eyewitnesses or, moreover, by journalists covering the match (if there were any).  

Hours later, FC Shirak and FC Alashkert football clubs issued statements about the incident, and Khashmanyan and Alashkert President Bagrat Navoyan gave their comments.

At that time, for those exclusively consuming local Armenian media it became clear that Khashmanyan had innocently suffered as a result of the aggressive behavior of the opponent’s fans; he didn’t maintain rule and order in the stadium.

In the evening, FC Shirak then FC Alashkert published the video of the incident, which completely changed the perception of the situation: it was already clear that the parties were perhaps equally to blame.

The passions were quelled somewhat. Later, FC Shirak fan club Black Panthers uploaded a video.

The facts and the videos showed that Gyumri fans didn’t attack, even more didn’t beat Khashmanyan, as it was reported in the story by ArmSport.am, who first wrote about this incident, and which a large number of news websites had republished.

ArmSport.am removed the story from its website.

Coverage of the incident after the Shirak–Alashkert match once again established the existence of a deep crisis in Armenia’s sports media: you can “spin” any news (preferably scandalous of course) and mislead the public just through one website.

Armen Nikoghosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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