Zenit Says It Selects Players Based On Quality, Disagrees With Fan Group Demands
Zenit St. Petersburg Manager Luciano Spalletti "has distanced the club from a group of supporters who have called for 'sexual minorities' and non-Europeans to be excluded from the playing staff," according to the London INDEPENDENT. The Italian issued an official statement in response to an open letter titled "Selection Manifesto 12" published on Zenit fan website Landscrona Tuesday, which detailed its "principles for selection" and preferred criteria for future signings. Without referring directly to the statement, Zenit boss Spalletti Tuesday told fc-zenit.ru: "Tolerance for me is the ability to understand and accept differences. Furthermore, being tolerant means that you fight against any kind of stupidity. I can personally assure you that I will do everything I can to help those who seek to explain what tolerance is, and the need to respect other cultures and traditions" (INDEPENDENT, 12/18).
PLAYER QUALITY: Zenit Dir of Sports Dietmar Beiersdorfer explained that the club makes player quality its only principle when selecting players and stated Zenit's goals for the upcoming winter transfer campaign. Beiersdorfer: "We make our player selections without any limitation regarding origin, religion or skin color. We have absolutely no policy in Zenit of limiting our player selection in any superficial way! Zenit as a big international club has to know all current top-level players and all promising young names who can reach the top level. Therefore it is vital to know all relevant markets where these players show up. The one and only restriction our club sets is the matter of quality" (Zenit St. Petersburg).