“In the negotiations on Zharkov, pressure was put on Salavat. We didn’t like it “
Salavat Yulaev is one of the most talked about and popular teams in the Continental League. Rinat Bashirov, the general director of Ufa, in an exclusive conversation with the columnist of the Championship at the preseason tournament in Kazan, spoke about the latest news from the Yulaev camp, the abundance of injuries in the team, the issue of financing, and also explained the reasons for parting with striker Vladimir Zharkov .
- “When they talk about older players in Salavat, they criticize us without any connection with the youth.”
- “Representatives of Zharkov did not take a step forward, were adamant in their conditions, did not meet halfway”
- “Our task is to create a team so that the approach is laconic”
- “To date, all funding problems have been resolved.”
“When they talk about older players in Salavat, they criticize us without any connection with the youth.”
– Can we say that the selection of Salavat Yulaev has been completed or transactions are still possible?
– We still have one or two positions. We are waiting, not in a hurry. We have candidates. But we are not saying anything yet, because everything may not turn out the way we want.
– How do you like the debut for the team of Nikolai Kulemin?
– He played with SKA as the coaching staff expected from him. It comes out in the minority, acts reliably, calmly. There is calmness from Nikolay, young players feel it. This is important, because we have enough young talented guys.
– Aren’t you embarrassed that there are also enough older hockey players in Ufa, for which the club is periodically criticized?
– We looked in the KHL regulations, but did not find there a ban on signing adult players (smiles) . After that, we realized that, apparently, the league also needs them. Personally, I would not be very pleased if the hockey player was said to be a veteran. When they talk about older players in Salavat, they criticize us without any connection with the youth. Now there are pre-season tournaments, we have a lot of young people. The guys are part of the main team.
– Yes, there are enough talents.
– But when so many young guys come in, there must be adult hockey players. Then it becomes easier for the guys to play: the young people feel that there is someone behind them, that they are standing up for them.
– The main thing is that the coaching staff of Tomi Lyamsa give young people chances.
– Of course! We say to the coaching staff: “We have people.” We do not bring in young people just to appear in the media. We start those people who are definitely ready. The coaching staff attracted many talented players from Tolpar and Toros to the training process this year. We have many guys with great potential. It would be wrong not to use this moment now – then you can miss it.
– But you still have a decent amount of older players.
– Yes, in terms of the number of hockey players over 30 years old, we are probably ahead of other clubs. But we can get ahead of them in the number of young people! The team from this symbiosis becomes stronger, all our players treat each other well. There are no problems in this part.
“Representatives of Zharkov did not take a step forward, were adamant in their conditions, did not meet halfway”
– Many criticized the leadership of Salavat for parting with Vladimir Zharkov, who was the core hockey player of the team. Why didn’t they renew the contract with him?
– We understood that Vladimir is a system-forming player. Parting with him turned out to be painful for us. The fans also took it hard. But we thought that signing it, considering how the negotiations were going, would be a minus for the team. Zharkov is truly a reputable player. Based on this, its representatives were negotiating with us. They did not take a step forward, were adamant in their conditions, did not meet halfway.
– An interesting point.
– We did not advertise this, but according to the previous contract, a year before the end of the agreement, its representatives contacted us regarding the extension of the contract. We went to meet them. When they returned to this system two years later, they offered to return to the contract that he had before, and offered a period of two years. But its representatives refused. Say, there is a certain amount and that’s it. The difference is small, but people understood that Zharkov’s authority in the team and among the fans is very great. This allowed them to negotiate with an advantage in this area.
– Indeed, a difficult situation in every sense.
– I will return to the idea that the results of the negotiations and the concluded contract could be a minus for the whole team. We understood all the emotional moments, but the club proceeds from the fact that there will be a policy of expediency and practicality. We are not going to be subjected to pressure from the outside, be it agents or the media. There was a full spectrum of elements here that put pressure on us. We didn’t like this, so we reduced the offer to one year. They did not meet us halfway, in the end we also did not meet halfway. This was the point. We are grateful to Vladimir for the period of time he spent in Ufa. But I will say this: anyone who wants to play in Salavat Yulaev plays in it.
“Our task is to create a team so that the approach is laconic”
– There was talk that defender Maksim Chudinov might be in Salavat. Is this deal still real?
– Now this is no longer true. A month and a half ago, we looked at the entire market, we looked at this player. But now I can say that we will definitely not have it.
– The team suffered injuries, in each meeting about ten key players do not play, including those who went to the national teams. Does it bother you?
– It upsets us a lot. The coaching staff asked us to form a team based on our performance. One of them is that the season is long and the youth we welcomed are worth a look. But the supply of youth without strong support and depth of the squad may end up with the fact that at key moments we will not have enough players who can lead us to the Gagarin Cup. We are tuned in to this very goal. The coaching staff is also very determined, considering the previous failure in the series with Ak Bars. We also talked to the players, everyone understands our acquisitions. Injuries show that without the depth of the composition, nowhere.
– The calendar for the new season is also specific.
– It is very dense, because the Olympics and the World Championship are ahead. Alas, already in the offseason, you can be left without key players, and there will be no one to replace them. Although, even with such layouts, our vertical allows us to count on the best. Our task is to create a team so that the approach is concise.
– There are also serious injuries, like, for example, Rodion Amirov.
– I will not say that it is heavy. It turned out that everything is not so bad. The terms of his recovery have been shortened by our doctor, we really hope for Rodion.
“To date, all funding problems have been resolved.”
– They say that injuries could have collapsed, including due to bad ice at the Sports Palace. It is strange that in the offseason the team was deprived of their native ice and almost kicked out of the Ufa Arena, where other events are held.
– Our coaching staff never complained about it. I liked the words of Tomi Lämsä when he held the first meeting in the “Tolpara” dressing room at the Sports Palace. He said that this is our home for the next month. It is clear that there are some moments that arenas affect. My answer is: it would be better if we trained on our own site, including in terms of the quality of the ice. Yes, there were comments on its quality, but the hot weather, which has been on the street for two months, interfered.
– Do you associate injuries with this?
– No, I do not associate them with ice training in any way. They were all in a fight. Only, perhaps, Amirov’s leg got caught somewhere in a crack. Rodion wanted to play beautifully, well done. It’s a pity that it happened, because the guy got in shape. This year he did not look like the young player we are attracting. He got stronger, became an adult hockey player.
– Is Salavat okay in terms of financing? There is constant talk that the club takes some kind of loans, pledges real estate.
– I can say that today all problems with financing have been resolved. The head of the Republic of Bashkortostan has this under constant control. Indeed, we took out loans because we are financed by the Social Projects Fund. In turn, it is financed from the contributions of the largest enterprises of the republic. Given the pandemic year, its replenishment is still different from the plans that were set when this fund was formed. Therefore, there are some time periods for which we are forced to take loans from our own republican enterprise of the regional fund at symbolic interest. The government always controls this, we have a margin of safety. There is everything you need to play and operate the club system.
– Does Salavat have a conflict of interest with the Ufa football club?
– We are grateful to them for the help provided, about which everyone wrote and talked. We talked with the management of the football club, people went to meet us. This is the case when the amount from the “Social Projects Fund” assigned to the football club was cashed in, let’s call it cash. And our source has not yet arrived, so we asked to use the money intended for Ufa for the needs of Salavat free of charge. We, I repeat, went to meet, after which we closed all our debts to them. Therefore, we have no dispute.