Oleksiy Khakhlyov: "Opening of the stadium in Rivne will be a real holiday and a victory of common sense over all bureaucratic obstacles"

We bring to your attention an interview of the chairman of the Rivne regional football association, a member of the UAF Executive Committee Oleksiy Khakhlov, which concerned topical issues of football life in the region.

Rivne's Veres will start the Ukrainian Premier League championship this Saturday. In 2015, thanks to the initiative of Oleksiy Khakhlov, the head of the Rivne Regional Football Association and the Veres-Rivne Public Union, after five years of absence in the city, the PFL team reappeared.

- What were your emotions after Veres won the championship and joined the UPL?

- Such events are remembered for a lifetime! The most important thing in such moments is that there was someone to share this feeling of joy with, because a large number of Rivne residents who became co-owners (shareholders) of the People's Club "Veres" were happy and proud of their "Veres"! And for me personally it was extremely important to solve the problem of reviving a professional football team in Rivne region in the form of a joint stock company. Back in 2015, after I was elected chairman of the Rivne Regional Football Federation, such a strategic issue was taken up by me. I am happy that I managed to realize the dream of Rivne fans!

- Was it worth it for Veres to hurry up, without proper infrastructure, to go to the UPL now?

- There are questions that do not have an unambiguous answer. In my opinion, it is the broad, incorruptible and genuine support of the fans that gives an effective impetus to building a powerful football club in the Rivne region. After all, this is the foundation for an effective dialogue with the authorities and a subject of interest for business structures. We know and understand our limitations, but we perceive them only as opportunities for growth. It may sound strange to some, but I will say that the lack of proper infrastructure in Veres today means a huge potential for development. And this, in turn, is the main attraction for investors. Therefore, the appearance in the near and real future of positive news about the infrastructure will definitely increase the demand and increase the value of shares of the public joint-stock company "Rivne People's Club" Veres ".

- Do you think we would have Veres-2021 if there was no Veres-2015?

- I consider the presence of a new professional football club in Rivne today to be a clear victory! And as they say, every victory has many parents, only defeat remains an orphan. The path traveled since 2015 was extremely interesting and unique. A little gray hair and wrinkles were added, but instead we had an object of love and pride - "Our dream -" Veres "Rivne". Maybe someday I will write memoirs about it. But now I want to thank everyone who has been and is in the history of the club's revival!

- After Ivan Nadein came to Veres, you gradually withdrew from work at the club. What dictated this and what is your current relationship with the folk club?

- I consider our acquaintance with Ivan Nadein to be fateful. Back in 2018, we started our conversation with the format of possible sponsorship. But later Ivan Alekseevich became interested in the format of the people's club in the form of a public joint-stock company. Through long dialogues, we realized the existence of a common vision and common ambitions to create an alternative model of the football club in the Ukrainian football realities. The crisis of our national football competitions is obvious by the main criterion - the low number of fans in the stadium at the home game of the team. People don't particularly want to cheer for someone's team. That's why we made it possible for them to become co-owners of OUR club and support OURS! Of course, this requires a change in the football mentality through a long and trusting dialogue. But I am sure that the new president of "Veres" is ready for this.

- Veres is an associate member of ROAF, how is the relationship between the association and the club built?

- We have an understanding on strategic issues. We work together. For example, regarding the development of women's football in the region, for which the executive director of ROAF Oleg Kucher is responsible in Veres. Taras Kiryanchuk, a young promising manager, is also involved in the operational work of the club. He combines this activity with the performance of the functions of a ROAF specialist. We interact with the development of even the latest vectors, such as cyber football. That is, I believe that there is a common vision and a good strategic perspective. Because together we are a force!

- Is there a common understanding between the association and the club that "Veres" should be the top of the football pyramid in Rivne region?

- Thanks to the success of "Veres", football in Rivne region is of interest to our younger generation. The number of children who want to do this sport is growing. This is evidenced by almost a dozen established private football schools!

- ROAF took an active position on the reconstruction of the stadium "Vanguard", sent letters to the leadership of the state. The government recently announced its readiness to allocate 100 million for a stadium in Rivne. In your opinion, what are the prospects now?

- First of all, I would like to thank the President of the UAF Andriy Vasyliovych Pavelko, who has kept the issue of reconstruction of the Avangard Stadium in Rivne under personal control from the beginning and accompanies all stages of the work. For Rivne region, the successful completion and opening of the stadium will be a real celebration and a victory of common sense over all bureaucratic obstacles. A large amount of work was started by the previous mayor Volodymyr Yevhenovych Khomko. It was he who made this process irreversible. It is extremely nice that the newly elected head of Rivne Oleksandr Vitaliyovych Tretyak is an ardent fan of Veres and a man of his word. It was his promise of a successful completion of the reconstruction that grew into a real allocation of funds by the new cadence of Rivne city deputies. I would also like to thank the head of the Rivne Regional State Administration Vitaliy Stanislavovych Koval for effectively lobbying for the allocation of funds from the state budget.

And if you remember where it all started, the situation was almost stalemate. After all, until 2015, the Avangard Stadium belonged to the Rivne Regional and City Councils in a 50/50 ratio. My first official letter was an appeal to the Rivne Regional Council to transfer 50% of the ownership of the Avangard Stadium to the balance of the Rivne Regional Football Federation. Apparently, then the deputies were a little scared of my impudence. Instead, they handed over their share to the city council. A kind of "mat in two moves", and the green light came on. This created a single owner of the property complex and made it possible to start the process of reconstruction of the stadium.

- What would you say to those who claim that the construction of a stadium for Rivne is an unjustified luxury?

- Unjustified luxury is to lose the moment and not to return "Veres" to Exactly to the reconstructed stadium. For the city budget, the full cost of the work would certainly be a heavy burden. But today there is a clear understanding of the real co-financing of the reconstruction of the stadium "Avangard" from the regional and state budgets. The final estimates and amounts will be known after the completion of the entire complex of works. I am sure that the general contractor, the company "Violet", will report for every hryvnia spent.

- You were the main ideologue of creation in Rivne of national club, what will tell about present nationality "Veres"?

- It is very easy and at the same time very difficult to create something new. There are many advisers and critics, and there is almost no one to help and be responsible. Currently, as the president of the public association Rivne Football Club Veres, I, together with Ivan Oleksiyovych Nadein, am a co-founder of the public joint-stock company Rivne People's Club Veres. We have found the optimal and effective form for the concept of "folk club". All regulations and internal procedures are clearly spelled out in the Law of Ukraine "On Joint Stock Companies". I believe that we are doomed to success if we do not take a principled stand. I am also a shareholder, having one club share so far, and I want to say that the level of nationality (ie openness and transparency in decision-making) in the club is unprecedented.

- How do you think the local authorities should support Veres, apart from building a stadium?

- Thank you for a good question. Here is an important aspect that I want to dwell on in detail. In the discussion of whether it is necessary to allocate funds from the regional or territorial community budget to support sports clubs (teams), there are always supporters of different points of view. Some are categorically against, others believe that this money is the key to the existence of sports. On the example of the interaction of the public joint-stock company "Rivne People's Club" Veres "and Rivne City Council I want to propose to change the approach to the so-called financial support. Instead of simply allocating money in a non-refundable form by the city authorities, a completely different option should be considered. Namely - the acquisition of shares in the club. This will give the community budget the opportunity not just to spend money, but to make an investment and give a signal to all other potential investors to trust Veres! The community's money was saved in the form of securities, the club received funds for current activities, the parties showed a new effective example of cooperation. And most importantly, the new shareholder (city government) becomes a co-owner of the club, which is interested in successful development. That is, in real growth in the value of both the entire package and its share. 

- Did you talk about this during a recent meeting with Rivne Mayor Oleksandr Tretyak?

- Yes, of course. Various issues of football development were discussed. It is nice to note the awareness and interest of the mayor in all aspects of the football economy. The football vertical is built from a child to a professional player of the main team, from the first yard to the central stadium of the city. Communication gave me optimism. We have a common ambition to glorify our Rivne through football successes!

- The president of "Veres" Ivan Nadein recently said in an interview that you share your football experience with him, give him advice. What was your last piece of advice to President Veres?

- We have a constant dialogue and find in it mutually interesting and important messages. One of my main pieces of advice at the time was the initiative to appoint Yuriy Mykolayovych Wirth as head coach - as it turned out, it was successful. And the last, perhaps, is that you should not worry too much after future defeats in the elite division. The main thing I want to say is that we were lucky with the president - Ivan Oleksiyovych sincerely and truly loves Veres Rivne, and I am grateful to him for that!

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