Police in Armenia are investigating an unusual case of vandalism, which involves a monument honoring the legendary Ararat soccer team, which in 1973 became the USSR champ. The assailants who vandalized the monument, which consists of 13 statues that depict each member of the team, walked away with four of the statues.
“This is vandalism,” retired Ararat-73 player Sergei Poghosyan told Armenpress, which reported that Poghosyan was outraged when he learned of the incident. He emphasized the great meaning the statues have for the entire team, especially for those who are still alive.
“It has been years since I have been asking relevant authorities to install video surveillance here, however they haven’t responded till now,” an angered Poghosyan told Armenpress standing near the remaining statues.
“Today, something happened which I consider to be vandalism,” Poghosyan added. “I came here the moment I found out. These statues mean a lot to us, this was a slap to the nation, this theft was a great slap to the face.”
The monument to the Ararat-73 team, which stands near Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan was unveiled in 2016 as an homage to Yerevan’s Ararat soccer team, which in 1973 won the USSR Top League and the USSR Cup.
The statues of Ararat-73 manager Nikita Simonyan and players Robert Tsaghikyan, Onik Abrahamyan and Harutyun Keheyan were stolen. The remaining statues are still in place.
During the 2016 unveiling ceremony, team forward Levon Ishtoyan stated: “I am really impressed. I would like to express my gratitude to Gagik Tsarukyan who supported the construction of this beautiful statue. This statue isn’t only about our victory, the next generation kids will want and will strive to become world and Olympic Champions.”
The architect and sculptor of the monument were Tigran Barseghyan, and Armen.
In 1973 Ararat team simultaneously became the USSR champion and won the USSR Cup. Ararat team included: coach Nikita Simonyan, goalkeeper Alyosha Abrahamyan, defenders Alexander Kovalenko, Norayr Mesropyan, Armen Sargsyan, Sanasar Gevorgyan, Suren Martirosyan, Arkady Harutyunyan, midfielders Arkady Andreasyan, Sergey Bondarenko, Hovhannes Zanazanyan, Sergey Poghosyan, forwards Eduard Markarov, Levon Ishtoyan, Nikolay Ghazaryan, Nazar Petrosyan.