Chechen soccer club to be renamed after leader's father
MOSCOW (AP) A Russian league soccer club in formerly war-torn Chechnya is to be renamed after the regional leader's dead father.
Terek Grozny CEO Akhmed Aidamirov said Tuesday that the club, which has previously won the Russian Cup, will be renamed Akhmat Grozny after Akhmat Kadyrov, the father of current regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
''There was a multitude of requests from fans,'' Aidamirov said, according to state news agency Tass. ''We will try to be worthy of this name.''
The name change will be sent for approval to Ramzan Kadyrov, who is the club's honorary president and a regular at games, and could be implemented when the season starts next month.
Akhmat Kadyrov was a former pro-independence rebel who switched sides to back the Kremlin and later ruled Chechnya. The team is currently named after the Terek river, which flows through Chechnya.
Since Akhmat Kadyrov was assassinated in 2004, Ramzan Kadyrov has revered his memory. The football club's Akhmat Arena stadium bears his name and was opened in 2011 by Ramzan Kadyrov playing with friends and colleagues against a team of international stars including Diego Maradona.
A major road, a martial arts club and Chechnya's largest mosque are among the many other state-backed services and organizations in Chechnya bearing Akhmat Kadyrov's name.
International rights groups have accused Ramzan Kadyrov's feared security forces of extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture and other human rights abuses.