With icon on shoulders against Swedish. What religious ‘‘moves’’ of Russian Bandy Federation can lead to

With icon on shoulders against Swedish. What religious ‘‘moves’’ of Russian Bandy Federation can lead to Photo: Evgeny Konov (rusbandy.ru)/ Russian national squad in prayer in Church of St. Nicolas

The Bandy Federation manages to shock the media space in its sport between international arenas. Realnoe Vremya tells about its decision to compete in the upcoming World Championship with stripes on shoulders in the form of Alexander Nevsky's icon.

Squad flew to Sweden to World Championship

The next Bandy World Championship will kick off on rinks of Swedish Sandviken very soon, on 29 January. Our squad is going to compete as a hot favourite. It goes without saying because the Russian team is the reigning owner of this title. Last year, our squad confidently won its rivals in the final and deservedly became the world champion.

This is why Swedish are angry, in a good sense, and ready for a brave fight against their ''eternal enemies''. The competition of these two national teams will tell who will become the next owner of the world hegemony for at least one year. The host team of the upcoming competition has a serious intention to return this title because they could not win it for several years. Last time they won it was in 2012 when the championship was in Astana.

Our national team will compete in this World Championship with a bit renewed squad. A conflict between the Bandy Federation and famous Soviet hockey player, coach and father of head forward of the team Sergey Lomanov caused it. As a result, the head coach had to refuse head forward Lomanov Junior for some strange reasons like a renewal of the squad. It is fine but older Ivanushkin will go to the World Championship, and the player who knows the Swedish Championship and major leader of the rival team – no.

Prayer near saint

The full Bandy Federation of the country decided to visit a prayer in the church probably just in case or to simply build a team, which was split by the conflict. Before the flight to Sweden, the team, coaching staff and executives of the federation came to the Church of St. Nicholas in Moscow. This kind of tradition gradually becomes constant. Moreover, this is done quite often in other sports.

Faithful Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky's icon was given to head coach Sergey Myaus. Photo: Fyodor Uspensky (rusbandy.ru)

Archpriest of the church Dmitry Roschin performed the service for the visitors. However, it was not just a service. Bandy Federation president of Russia Boris Skrynnik came to the improvised meeting with Faithful Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky's icon. It turned out it was a present for our national team before its departure to the upcoming World Championship in Sweden. It was given to head coach Sergey Myaus. What is more, member of the Patriarchal Commission on Sport and priest Daniil Zubov will go to the World Championship together with the national team. The church commented this decision the following way: ''If we remember our history, when Sergy Radonezhsky sent Dmitry Donskoy to the Kulikovo Field, he sent monk and warrior Peresvet,'' the head of the church reminded, ''so we sent Father Daniil with you to help the team.''

However, competition of our national team will with special stripes with this prince's icon is the most unclear decision.

What can this kind of act turn into?

First of all, the national squad of Sweden and numerous Swedish group of fans can dislike it. The explanation is quite real because Alexander Nevsky is famous for his fight on Neva against the Swedish Army. However, in European manuscripts, this version is quite doubtful. This is why a stripe with the saint prince's icon on it can be a reason for an international conflict between the countries. Moreover, all this situation can be worsened by a political moment. Secondly, not only Orthodox players will play in the Russian squad. For instance, Almaz Mirgazov from Enisey was called up for this competition. He is unlikely to be Christian. It means that it questions his emotional state because, as it is known, representatives of other religions don't welcome such things as cross or icons much. But it is not very clear from a perspective of the state order because Russia is a secular country, and a priority of only one religion can be considered in another way.

Almaz Mirgazov from Enisey is unlikely to be Christian. Photo: hc-enisey.ru

These two moments can bring the Russian Bandy Federation to an unpleasant situation. In addition, how will this step of the Church affect the country's foreign affairs? Realnoe Vremya's editorial can't estimate these decisions made by executives of our Russian hockey.

P.S. Lomanov can return to the squad

Before publication of this article, news about a meeting of Lomanov Senior with the federation's president Boris Skrynnik and Russian Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov appeared. According to life.ru, the Ministry of Sport decided to know what was going on between the sides in the conflict situation and tried making peace between the coach and head of Russian bandy. According to rumours, the younger Lomanov who will make the team stronger in this World Championship can return to the team. Coach Sergey Myaus commented it:

''I don't exclude anything including Sergey's return to the squad. But everybody will need to get ready for work and understand that there are situations linked with misunderstanding, quarrels and scandals,'' TASS cites Myaus. ''Union always was a Russian's forte. We need to unite, stop having unclear talks and decide how to develop bandy after the World Championship. It must take place in a legal terrain.''

By Zulfat Shafigullin