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Russian Muftis Award Kazan's Coach For Winning Soccer Title

Kurban Berdyev
Kurban Berdyev
MOSCOW -- Russia's Council of Muftis has recognized the coach of the champion soccer team Rubin Kazan at a ceremony in Moscow, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Coach Kurban Berdyev -- who is a Turkmen citizen -- has led Rubin Kazan to consecutive Russian championships after clinching the 2009 title on November 21.

Berdyev, a devout Muslim, said at the ceremony on November 30 in Moscow's famous Metropol restaurant that he accepts the award not just for himself but for the republic of Tatarstan, the Rubin Kazan team, and its fans.

Berdyev told RFE/RL that neither he nor Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev want the Rubin Kazan coaching staff to break up and he has no immediate plans to return to Turkmenistan.

The ceremony was devoted to the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha and was attended by official Russian Islamic leaders, State Duma deputies, and other officials.

It is the fourth year that the government has held an official dinner in Moscow marking Eid al-Adha.