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28 Jan, 2019 10:34

'Don't forget your own!': Petition launched to free jailed striker Kokorin amid 5yr sentence

'Don't forget your own!': Petition launched to free jailed striker Kokorin amid 5yr sentence

An online petition has been launched to free caged Russian footballer Aleksandr Kokorin after the forward was remanded in custody following a drunken attack on two victims that could see him jailed for a maximum 5 years.

Zenit St. Petersburg forward Kokorin was detained along with his younger brother, Kirill, and fellow footballer Pavel Mamaev, also an ex-international player who plays his club football for Krasnodar, for their part in two separate drunken brawls which left two people seriously injured in Moscow last October.

A call for signatories was posted on Kokorin’s Instagram page on Monday, which read: “Dear friends, from January 28 to February 6, in the city of St. Petersburg, a collection of signatures will be held in support of the Kokorin brothers. Don’t stand aside, be part of the solution. We need you, if we are united, we will not be defeated!”

The collection will be held on Nevsky Prospect, the main street in St. Petersburg, and also at the city’s major train stations from 10am to 10pm local time. It is not clear whether Kokorin knows about the petition, and it is possible close friends and relatives have instead instigated the action on his behalf.

Long-time friends Kokorin and Mamaev have been detained since October 8, when they were accused of initiating a brawl in a cafe when they mocked a government official and after which Kokorin hit him over the head with a chair.

Just hours earlier, the two were caught on film assaulting a second man, a driver for a Russian television presenter, leaving him with brain damage as a result of suffering a series of blows to the head. The incidents took place after the two players’ respective sides met in a Russian Premier League fixture in St. Petersburg.

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In December it was reported the players, who have made 63 appearances for the Russian national team between them, will remain behind bars until at least February 8, when their trial for the offences will begin. Their alleged crimes carry a maximum penalty of 5 years.

It marks a spectacular fall from grace for Kokorin, who was once a reported target for English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Arsenal, and had been dubbed 'the future of Russian football'. Among his achievements, Kokorin has played in three major international tournaments for his country, scoring Russia’s only goal in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

At the end of last year, famous faces from the Russian football world, including former teammate Kevin Kuranyi, sent video messages of support to Kokorin and Mamaev, which were posted to his personal account.