Tuapse in Russia, home of a team who fielded ringers to conceal a coronavirus outbreak
(Image: Vyacheslav Argenberg)

Russian team field ringers to hide COVID-19 outbreak, get first point of season

Local players pretend to be first team regulars.

Футбольный клуб «Туапсе» вышел на матч с ростовским СКА без единой замены и с двумя подставными футболистами.
Под видом Ильи Кириленко и Максима Ермакова на поле вышли другие люди.https://t.co/AnOrP82ek8 pic.twitter.com/sziYF30i36

— Андрей Семенихин (@ASnumber4) September 22, 2020

Russian side FC Tuapse fielded two ringers against SKA Rostov-on-Don to hide a COVID-19 outbreak and ended up earning their first point of the season.

Having lost their five previous matches in the Russian Professional Football League, Russia’s third tier, they drew 1-1 at the Stadium Vodnik on Monday.

Nasaf 5-0 Termez Surkhon
Ruvu Shooting 1-0 Gwambina FC
FK Tuapse 1-1 SKA Rostov

— Jogo das Apostas (@jogodasapostas) September 21, 2020

But their starting XI contained two players who were only pretending to be first team regulars and even took their names on the team sheet.

A coronavirus outbreak at the club in August left them with only nine fit members of the squad, with rules dictating that the club should forfeit games.

That is stunning FC Tuapse's Vodnik Stadium on the brink of the Black Sea.

But it's not OK for the PFL standarts! https://t.co/bUCUKfD7YI pic.twitter.com/9K0EW3mF2z

— Russian Non-League Football (@RUSNLF) June 2, 2020

To conceal this, they got two local players to stand in and pretend to be some of the afflicted parties – including the club captain.

One of them even made a late goal line clearance to preserve the point, but their opponents realised something was amiss and told the press.

Tuapse manager Serhiy Lezhentsev declined to respond and went on a ‘business trip’ for the week following the fixture, saying afterwards that his club would “look into it”.