Published: Saturday, 21 January 2017 12:11

Dmitry SHNEIDER, the Granatkin Memorial Tournament Director:

“Our tournament became more rhythmic”

A year ago during the interview for the official Granatkin Memorial website its Tournament Director Dmitry Shneider half-jokingly, half-seriously complained about a huge amount of burning issues associated with participation of fourteen respectable football delegations from all parts of the world, that did not allow him to watch the matches. But in this year’s Memorial, there are sixteen national teams instead of fourteen! So the first question was obvious:

 

Taking into amount the amount of work, were there any matches that you managed to watch?

I managed to watch a few. I witnessed only three games with team Saint Petersburg and two games with team Russia. This happened not only because I wanted to see these teams, but mostly because these games were the closing matches of the day – it is easier for me to find time in the evening. Unfortunately, I could not see two semi-finals, including the one where Russia and Saint Petersburg played against each other, as I was helping with the Saint Petersburg Host City Logo Unveiling for the 2020 UEFA European Championship. But I am glad I have a chance to make up during the last tournament day, the one that will be the most interesting!

What will the XXIX Granatkin Memorial be best remembered for? Who of the young players performing on the ground of the Saint Petersburg Sports and Concert complex impressed you the most?

I will remember this tournament as the one with a big number of participating teams, with a long schedule, and with a new and quite exotic team like India in the tournament table. Increase of the tournament duration allowed us to make the competition more rhythmic and let teams recover after the games. Of course, there were some interesting players on the tournament, and they showed an outstanding play. Most of them represent teams Saint Petersburg and Russia. But I won’t mention the names – just from the educational point of view!

The overall tournament format changed a lot this year. First of all, unlike some previous years, all sixteen teams played all their matches in SCC only. Secondly, the tournament regulations were re-written and teams were divided into 4 groups, and only 2 teams could make it to the quarter-final from each group. Did these innovations do much good to the tournament?

The spectators benefited the most because the competitiveness was shown until the very last game of the group stage, since most of teams had chances to join the battle for the main prize by the end of this tournament part. And that’s great. But on the other hand, the price of a mistake in a particular match was not that high. Another thing is that all national teams played six games instead of five. After talks with team managers it became clear that it is too hard for young players, so we will have a lot to think over.

Not only the tournament format and regulations changed this year: we switched the timing to the end of New Year’s vacations. On the whole, this did not affect the attendance. There is still one day to play, but we can already say that more than 50 000 spectators came to watch 48 matches of the 2017 Granatkin Memorial. The last tournament day will see the winner and the medalists defined, so we apparently hope to increase the total attendance.

– As for the tournament timing, will it be changed for the next year?

– We need to make a detailed analysis of this question and to think about it. We still have time to do this.

– What are the heads of the official international delegations saying about this edition of the Saint Petersburg tournament?

– I am sure that when the tournament finishes we’ll receive thank you letters from all the delegations, and I hope these won’t be only formal kind words. I can personally underline that the entire staff of the LOC made their best to correspond to the highest standards of sports events organization. We took FIFA requirements to staging the World Cup as an example to follow.

– Were you disappointed or maybe even worried about anything on the Granatkin Memorial this year?

– I am disappointed with the level of media attention to this tournament this year. Please, do get me right – I am not complaining, but… our press center is working according to a long-time proven scheme and all the necessary working conditions for journalists are provided. I think that the media of the country that is preparing to host the Confederations Cup this year, the World Cup next year and several matches of EURO 2020 that will be held in Saint Petersburg should have much higher interest to football. This can be described as horrible!

This topic definitely deserves to be discussed separately and on a communication platform wider than the official tournament website. Football players, coaches and journalists should have joined forces long time ago to start making football a bright and colorful product!

As for now, I am seeing some sort of a vicious circle as all the stakeholders in football are not happy with each other. But this only makes our spectators and fans suffer. Instead of sparkling matches they are watching games with strange outcomes or reading news about the amount of alcohol consumed by the players in night clubs or about the salaries of their agents. Unfortunately, we don’t have notable stars either in football or in sports media – let both of these groups forgive me…

– Nevertheless the sports journalists did not lose sight of three assists made by the Tournament Director Dmitry Shneider on a mini-tournament between the coaches. What was it – an inspiration or special preparation?

– Thank you for paying attention to this statistics (smiling), it’s pleasant for me. I am still playing at least once a week with my friends. And I wish you the same, because football is a great invention of the mankind. Everyone should be playing!

The next Granatkin Memorial will be held for the 30th anniversary time. 2018 will also mark the celebrations of the 110 years Valentin Granatkin was born. Is there any special plan for the double jubilee?

– I won’t disclose all the secrets to you, but I can say that we are planning to invite the famous “graduates” of our tournament for football workshops, seminars and for exhibition games. Of course, we also plan to make TV broadcasts of the anniversary tournament. Our main goal for the Saint Petersburg tournament, no matter regular or special, will remain the same – we want to gather teams that would be interesting and attractive for both spectators and specialists.

 

 

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Copyright 2011 Мемориал Валентина Гранаткина / Valentin Granatkin Memorial - Dmitry SHNEIDER, the Granatkin Memorial Tournament Director.
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