0 users online

Andrejs Stolcers in the beer

last updated Thursday 19th July 2001, 1:04 PM
Andrejs Stolcers
Andrejs Stolcers
Fulham striker Andrejs Stolcers has triggered an almighty row between the Latvian football federation (LFF), the national press and two leading breweries after he inadvertently struck an advertising hoarding during Latvia's recent 4-1 win over Lithuania.

The former Spartak Moscow forward had the crowd in stitches of laughter when he deflected the ball out of play and into one of the 'Aldaris' advertising hoardings. The force of the ball caused the board sign to fall away – unveiling a Lacplesis advertisement underneath.

Aldaris and Lacplesis are Latvia's two leading breweries and are fiercely competitive when it comes to the world of football sponsorship.

Aldaris are believed to pay the LFF a massive £130,000 a year to sponsor the national team, while Lacplesis pay Skonto Riga a considerably smaller amount for the honour of associating with the Latvian champions.

For international games – which take place in the Skonto stadium – Aldaris are adamant all Lacplesis advertisments are covered over with their own logo. However, on this occasion, someone had not done their job properly.

Aldaris officials were fuming after gifting their rivals free publicity, and a match steward was ordered to repair the hoarding at half-time. However, there were more fun and games to come in the second half, as the hapless Stolcers, who was not enjoying his best game, again miscued the ball into the same advertisement.

The crowd watched with bated breath as the wooden board slowly fell away for a second time. The sight of the giant Aldaris sign crashing to the ground was greeted with the loudest cheer of the evening as once again Lacplesis got the better of their fellow brewers.

The real controversy, however, was only just beginning. To celebrate their successful night, Lacplesis decided to award their new-found hero Stolcers with a prize.

Latvian daily 'Chas', who were covering the story with relish, asked to be present at the awards ceremony and photographed a laughing Stolcers collecting his gift – which was, incidentally, a barrel of Lacplesis beer and a brown envelope.

"This is why I like football," joked Stolcers, pretending to drink the beer straight from the barrel. Latvia coach Aleksandrs Starkovs, though, was left unimpressed with the 26-year-old's antics. "To be honest, I'm not surprised he hit the advertsing hoarding twice. He was never likely to hit the back of the net – that's for sure," the coach said.

Aldaris are furious with the entire episode and have launched a stinging attack on the LFF, who they believe should not have allowed Stolcers to pick up the award. "He is a national team player," explained Aldaris marketing director Rolands Barenis.

"Therefore he is obliged to represent Aldaris and not our competitors. As for Lacplesis, this is not the way to do business. We're disgusted at the way things were done," he added.

But LFF general secretary Janis Mezeckis insisted: "We have made a mistake and the hoarding should have been secure. Our contract with Aldaris, though, does not state that players can't work with other companies."

Mezeckis, meanwhile, believes the Latvian press, and in particular Chas, are the most irresponsible party in the whole debacle. "What I have been reading the newspapers is a disgrace," he blasted. "I can't find words to describe how I feel about them. They are ready to jump on anything in order to drag down the name of the Latvian national team," he insisted. "We are trying desperately to find a way of beating Ukraine, Scotland and Croatia and all they can think about is who is drinking what beer."

If Stolcers works up an appetite after seeing off the barrel of beer, he would be well advised to take a trip to Pizza Hut. They are Fulham's sponsors next season.

Andrejs Stolcers Previous Stories
Andrejs Stolcers Player Profile
Source onefootball
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"