Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Europe's most easterly club to make Asian tour

Russian Premier League newcomer Luch-Energia FC is planning a tour to China and South Korea during the FIFA 2006 World Cup when their domestic championship is suspended. "What Luch-Energia call 'commercial friendly' matches with the top clubs from the region will take place instead," Soccer Investor reported (29 March 2006).

However, Luch-Energia will not be travelling long distances for its Asian tour. Its home is Vladivostok city in the Russian Far East, on the coast of the Sea of Japan and near both the Chinese and Korean borders. Vladivostok is the home port of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai. The city's name means "controlling the East" in Russian and, in Chinese, "Sea Cucumber Marsh".

According to Eduard Nisenboim and Pavle Gognidze in UEFA magazine, Luch-Energia is Europe's most easterly club and is over 6,000 kilometres from Russia's capital, Moscow ... that's six time zones and sometimes a 14 hour air flight. "It takes us two days to adapt when we travel to Moscow but when we return home it takes a whole week to get back to normal. It's terrible that none of the scientific recovery programs can help the team. There's no secret recipe here. This whole thing is tougher for us than for anyone else," said coach Sergei Pavlov.

The club was called Luch before 2003, when it was renamed Luch-Energia due to sponsorship from Dalenergo, an energy distribution company.

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