Today we caught up again with Lev Petukhov from the Zyuzino Zombies about the upcoming Challenge Cup being held in Moscow on the 10th September.
For those that do not know much about Challenge Cup V, can you explain what it is and how it all started and where the inspiration came from?
In 2012 the Russian Federation of American Football (FAFR) held the only Russian Flag Championship. Surprisingly for organisers flag-football teams did exceptionally well compared to tackle football. Tough Nuts won the gold medals, and Zombies made it to the semi-finals. So the Federation immediately lost any interest to hold any further flag football activities.
For 6 months we waited for any competition proposals, but then I realised that we had everything we needed ourselves. Now it has been almost four years since the Moscow Flag Football Community took matters of flag football tournaments into their own hands. In September 2013 the first Challenge Cup was held with just 3 teams. Moscow being the well known regulars – Tough Nuts and Zombies, were joined by the first flag football team from Saint Petersburg – Red Pandas. There was to be no miracles happened unfortunately as the Tough Nuts dominated the scene with two easy wins, and Zombies coming runners-up by beating the Pandas.
How has the Challenge Cup progressed since?
In 2014 we had six participants, with Tough Nuts retaining the trophy. In 2015 we once again had six teams with two groups however this time Zombies managed to knock out Tough Nuts in the semis, but failed to produce any score in the final game vs Olivier (team of tackle footballers mainly from Moscow Spartans).
In 2016 The Challenge Cup IV went down to three participants (thanks to some late pull-outs) and Tough Nuts once again beat Zombies in the finale.
What will the format be for this years tournament?
Usually we play two groups of three teams each (or one group), and then some knock out stages depending on number of teams involved.
For teams that are interested, how would they enter the tournament?
We notify anyone who might be interested via social networks (for Russia it’s vkontakte and facebook for international connection). So basically you contact me by facebook messenger or an email, fill the registration form, pay entry fee – and join us on the day of the tournament.
Since there is no website so far, you get all pay pal details and registration form on demand. Registration is open until 13th of August. For any additional info contact me directly any time
Is there an Entry Fee and what is the maximum number of teams?
Yes, it’s 4000 roubles (which is about 60-70 euros depending upon the currency rate).
I don’t think we are ready to host more than 10 participants, but we haven’t reached this number yet.
Which teams are signed up so far and where are they from?
As for today we have three teams registered – A solid team from Ekaterinburg “Borscht and Shchi”, Vitebsk Stormriders from Belarus and Zombies. We also expect at least two teams – current holders Tough Nuts and 2015 winners Oliver team. Also another couple teams from Moscow, Tver, Yaroslavl or Saint Petersburg – may join at the last call, but it’s too early to say.
What are the ambitions for the Challenge Cup?
To establish it as an International tournament, of course! The Big Bowl sets the bar so high (as Danish players on the field), but I would be really happy to see Russian teams integrated in the European flag football community not only as guests, but as hosts too.
What kind of weather can teams expect at that time of year?
Early September is traditionally a good time to do outside sports in the Moscow region. It’s not hot already and yet there is some time before we get our autumn chill.
Any advice for teams & players about Moscow before going out?
Apart from obvious sights like Kremlin, numerous cathedrals and convents, Tretyakov gallery and the dead body of a Russian revolution leader you can find all sorts of entertainment of your choosing – clubs, pubs, opera, ballet, river tours and some beautiful landmarks to take memorable photos and selfies.
Thanks Lev, and good luck with the tournament!