President Serzh Sargsyan participated at the festive event dedicated to the legendary Ararat-73 Armenian football team. At the gathering, which was organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the glorious victory of the team which in the season of 1973 simultaneously became the USSR champion and won the USSR Cup, the President of Armenia awarded the veterans of the Ararat football team with high state awards and distinctions for their considerable input in the development of the Armenian football and brilliant achievements, President’s Press Office reported.
Serzh Sargsyan congratulated the awardees and in his remarks underscored that Ararat team was one of the greatest achievements of our nation not only in 1973 but throughout the 1970-s. “For our nation, Ararat’s glorious victories on the green field were not only victories won in competitions but also a reflection of its collective excellence. Ararat was our national pride, national dignity. Certainly, Ararat was not just playing football: the guys were playing football, but it was also politics. As we all know, unfortunately, in Soviet years Armenia was not able to adequately present herself on the international arena and Ararat through its football victories was bringing Armenia out on the international arena and Armenia and the Armenians were becoming even more recognizable. Ararat’s victories, Ararat’s double victory I always compare to another great deed which was accomplished by Tigran Petrossian: Becoming a world champion, Tigran Petrossian made each Armenian family learn to play chess or at least love the game. These guys did the same. Performance of our today’s team is also the result of the then victories. Ararat brought inspiration to Armenia, to our nation and to every Armenian wherever he lived – in Armenia or abroad, was very proud.
I remember very well year 1973; at that time, I was serving in the Soviet Army, in remote Ural. Even now, I still become emotional, I felt that the entire regiment was looking at me, pointing in my direction and saying “Look, this guy’s compatriots made that deed.” Obviously, Armenia was in raptures. I said once that in recent 50 or 60 years, our nation has had only a few occasions to be really happy. Probably the first was May 9 – victory in the Great Patriotic war, then Tigran Petrossian’s victory, then Ararat-73 and in modern times it can be compared with the victory in Shushi, when our entire nation spontaneously took to the streets and elated in the greatest victory of its sons,” President Serzh Sargsyan said.
Speaking about the jubilation of 1970-s, the President recalled how every child was trying to be like the Ararat-73 heroes.
According to Serzh Sargsyan, the Ararat team has its certain influence also on today’s national team which in the President’s view is one of best teams among the national football teams of the former USSR. President Sargsyan urged that every Armenian, no matter where he or she is, supports our national team because according to the President it is not merely about the sport victories; it is much more than just a victory.
On behalf of the Armenian nation and his own behalf, President Sargsyan thanked the veterans of Ararat-73, wished them good health and wished that they always stand by our team, our football players.
At the festive event organized by the Armenia’s Football Federation (AFF), the veterans of Ararat-73 were also greeted and congratulated on the occasion of the glorious victory by the RA Minister of Sport and Youth Issue Yuri Vardanian, President of AFF Ruben Hairapetian and the Head Coach of the Armenian national football team Vardan Minassian.
Minister Yuri Vardanian awarded a number of Ararat-73 players with the RA Sport Master of International Class title, Distinguished Worker of Physical Culture and Sport and awarded them with the Gold Medal of the Ministry and commemorative medals. The President of the AFF handed monetary awards to all veterans of Ararat-73.