General Manager of Spartak Moscow FC Alexander Khadzhi has told RIA Novosti by telephone from Antalya, where the players are holding the first training session, that the club will play in a tournament in Turkey, as the team is entirely satisfied with the tournament dates. He was commenting on media reports that the Moscow club would be faced with certain sanctions if it did not appear in the competition.
Khadzhi explained that the Spartak management had informed the organizers of the tournament of the club's wish to defend the title that they won last year. However, Khadzhi said that the main organizers had fallen out with each other and Spartak was invited to play in a competition that did not coincide with their previously drawn up plans.
Consequently, Khadzhi said that Spartak would take part in the Effes Pilsner tournament, which will start in Antalya on Sunday, January 12th. The Muscovites' first opponents will be Herta Berlin, in ninth place in the Bundesliga. On January 16th, Spartak will then take on the host nation's Trabzonspor, who are in sixth place in the Turkish league.
On January 17th the Russian Championship's third placed team will play another match in the tournament against a team from a different group. Fenerbahce are tipped as the favorites in this group. Ex-Spartak forward Vladimir Beschastnykh recently signed a contract with the team.