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Disgraced Russian footballers freed from prison

Tuesday September 17 2019

This file photo taken on May 8, 2019 shows Russian footballer Alexander Kokorin escorted into a police van after being sentenced to a year and a half in prison for hooliganism over drunken assaults, Moscow. PHOTO | KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV |

This file photo taken on May 8, 2019 shows Russian footballer Alexander Kokorin escorted into a police van after being sentenced to a year and a half in prison for hooliganism over drunken assaults, Moscow. PHOTO | KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV |  AFP

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By AFP
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MOSCOW

Russian footballers Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin were released on Tuesday after spending nearly a year in prison over a night of drunken assaults.

Russian state television showed Krasnodar midfielder Mamaev, 31, and Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Kokorin, 28, leave the prison where they were held in the south-western Belgorod region.

Russian news agencies reported that Zenit Saint Petersburg has already signed a new contract with Kokorin.

"We decided to conclude a contract with Kokorin to run to the end of the season," the club's general director Alexander Medvedev told the RIA Novosti news agency. The football season ends in May next year.

Wearing black hoodies, the pair rushed to a car while refusing to take questions from the media gathered outside the prison.

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A court this month granted the footballers early release following their convictions in May for last year's attacks in Moscow.

Including time in pre-trial detention, they had served 11 months of their 17-18 month sentences for hooliganism.

In a booze-fuelled night last October, Mamaev and Kokorin first assaulted the chauffeur of a TV presenter as he waited in a car park.

In an assault caught on video, they then attacked two government officials in an upmarket cafe, hitting one of them with a chair.

The assaults sparked outrage in Russia, where the pair had previously caused scandal when a video emerged from a Monte Carlo nightclub showing them cavorting at a champagne-fuelled party shortly after Russia's early exit from Euro 2016.

The Russian Premier League last year condemned the assault and briefly considered a lifetime ban.

Krasnodar still lists Mamaev as a player on its website, but the club has said that it will terminate its contract with him, which runs out at the end of the year.

Both players are Russian internationals though Kokorin last played for the national side in late 2017, while Mamaev was last selected in 2016.

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