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SBD Global/August 21, 2012/International Football

Secretive Club From Transnistria Was Founded By A Former KGB Agent

Current Moldova football champion FC Sheriff Tirapol is a football club "that few have heard of, from a corner of the former Soviet empire even fewer could easily locate," according to James Montague of the N.Y. TIMES. The club was "started by a former KGB agent, and it plays in a place where smuggling is rampant and statues of Lenin still stand revered." Its fans are a "bawdy, often violent bunch." Its officials treat basic details of the club's operations like classified material. Fotbal.md's football journalist Mihai Sitnic said, "They don't want anybody to know about this club. Everything is hidden." FC Sheriff was formed in '97 by Viktor Gushan, a former KGB officer, and "is embedded in the private economy in Transnistria." The money has helped FC Sheriff to become "the richest club in the Moldovan league, allowing it to scoop up talented young players in Africa and nearby Serbia." Its stadium is considered one of the best in Eastern Europe. Recently fired FC Sheriff coach Milan Milanovic said, "I enjoy living there." Beyond that nobody wanted to talk about the club. Sitnic said, "Every club in Europe wants to promote his product to the world, but when we call FC Sheriff, they won't tell us anything." Ask for an interview with Gushan, Sheriff's guiding force, and you will be told it will not happen. The club's spokesperson Vadim Kolchev said, "I am sorry, but no one from the club will speak to you" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/19).
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