Russia banned in UEFA: who suffered the most – the Russian team and the referees, Sergey Karasev and Anastasia Pustovoitova, 2022 World Cup

In the summer of 2021, the European Football Championship, Russia is crushed in the group stage, but the expression “the best Russian in the Euro” still appears on the field of fans. This is the name of the referee Sergei Karachev, who, together with the team, clearly plays each of the three games, collects criticism from Europeans who are upset by his decisions and deserves great respect in his homeland.

Sergei Karachev

Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / Getty Images

Karachev is a strict and clear referee. After the intervention of the VAR, it cancels the goal of the Italians with Switzerland. Clearly and without interference, one of the most dramatic matches of the tournament takes place – the cabin of the Germans and the Hungarians. And then, for the first time in his career, he serves the Euro playoff match and calmly removes the Dutchman de Licht with the help of the VAR in the match against the Czech Republic.

The Dutch bombard Karasev with insults, the Russian public responds to their comments and wants to listen to hard rock to be as cool as Sergey.

The next chapter – Karachev works as a reserve referee in the Italy-Spain semifinal, in which Chiellini, “injured” by him at the beginning of the tournament, shakes hands with the Russian referee. Karasyov smiles at the players, talks to them happily, a hero returns home and will soon be directing the UEFA Super Cup match (the referee will tell me a few weeks before he dreams of the final).

Judge Karasev went to the Euro with the Russian team.  And he said how it was
Judge Karasev went to the Euro with the Russian team. And he said how it was

Then – an invitation to the “Evening Urgant”, any videos and pranks on Karasev’s social networks are greeted with enthusiastic comments. Sergei continues to work on European Cup matches and is probably thinking about Qatar. After a successful summer, it seems that the experienced referee is on the road to the best days of his career. Trust and power will play with him.


At the same time, another credible referee is being developed in Russia – Anastasia Pustovoitova. Just look at its progress:

  • in 2019 judged the final of the Women’s Champions League.
  • in 2020, he was appointed as a reserve referee for the RPL match between Lokomotiv and Akhmat.
  • In the spring of 2021, she became the first woman to serve as the Referee in an FNL match (between Chertanovo and SKA-Khabarovsk).
  • the same summer, she is working on the final match of the women’s tournament of the Tokyo Olympics (Sweden – Canada).
Anastasia Pustovoitova

Anastasia Pustovoitova

Photo: RIA Novosti

In other words, Pustovoitova is the female face of Russian criticism. Not even the referee, but the whole of Russian football.

The main challenge in her career at the moment is – the job at Euro 2022 women in England, where the opening match and the final will be held at Wembley.

From the dream of serving in the army to the women's final at the Olympics.  Story of Referee Pustovoitova
From the dream of serving in the army to the women’s final at the Olympics. Story of Referee Pustovoitova


We return to our days.

Due to UEFA sanctions (typically logistical), Karasev does not work in the main matches of the Champions League and does not participate in the dramatic quarterfinals and, apparently, loses the World Cup in Qatar (he will be 43 years old at the time of the tournament). The penalties, but also his absence from top matches, work against him. Without top matches during the season, it is very difficult to expect to be on the referee’s list for the main four-year tournament.

Pustovoitova has her own drama, she was suspended from working in the same Euro women. In fact, the main tournament of her life.

Anastasia’s words after such a decision are given in detail (from a conversation with Andrei Pankov).

“How did I feel at that moment? A lump in my throat, tears rolled down my face, I remembered myself as a child, when, happily, you were playing with a balloon, and it was hitting – and bursting. So my dream came true, bam, and finally! I will focus on work in Russia. VAR appointments are a responsible and extra burden (in the good sense of the word) for a referee. I repeat, for me every fight is a joy and in every capacity. This is my life!”


As a result, we lose the most valuable imported Russian football product. Professionals and referees-leaders of the country are suspended – while others are not allowed to approach them.

Besides, in the absence of Karashev and Pustovoitova, European football will also lose. The footballers during the Euro praised Karasev himself, noting that he was not only a professional, but also a positive referee.

It remains to remember the summer of 2021 and to re-read the judges’ interviews full of stories about working internationally.


But to make it more fun, let’s remember the summer story about Karasev, told by his assistant Igor Demeshko.

Karachev Brigade.  Who helped the best Russian referee to do a great job at Euro 2020
Karachev Brigade. Who helped the best Russian referee to do a great job at Euro 2020

“During the euro in a Roman hotel, Sergei handed over his clothes for washing. For a long time I could not take them and went to the reception: “Where are things?”. The staff promised to find out during our meal, and when Sergei returned to the room, he found a letter: “Dear Mr. Chang, your things will be ready in half an hour.” This letter is still with him.

Naturally, things returned. “Everything was fine.”

And let it be!

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