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Kazakh FA continues fight with Nikola Tonev

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Tonev at his presentation for Tobol; photo: FK TobolTonev at his presentation for Tobol; photo: FK TobolNew problems arose for Nikola Tonev who is currently playing for Bregalnica. The football federation of Kazakhstan continues to accuse him of forging a Kazakh passport and the player is desperately trying to win justice after being cleared by the police.

Nikola Tonev arrived in Kazakhstan in January of 2010 when he joined Taraz and later played for Sunkar and Tobol as well. His problems started while he featured for the last club, Tobol. Last summer, he was accused of playing with a fake Kazakh passport. Having too many foreign players in the squad (there are foreigner limits in the league), someone inside the club decided to make Tonev a fake Kazakh passport and register him with that document in the federation. Until the incident was revealed, the player claimed that he was unaware that he was playing as a Kazakh national. Nikola says that he only owns a Macedonian passport.

Tobol immediately terminated his contract in order to distance itself from the messy situation, but it never helped them. The Kazakh federation ruled on the matter last August and disciplined both the player and the club. Tonev was banned from ever playing in the Kazakh league again and fined 500.000 Tenge (translates to just over 2.000 Euros). Meanwhile, Tobol was docked 3 points on the league standings and fined 700.000 Tenge.

“I’m not guilty, I went to Kazakhstan with a Macedonian passport and I used the same document to return to Macedonia. The Kazakh federation is under pressure because they can get penalized. Via e-mail, they told me not to come and testify as they will accept my appeal. But, the opposite happened. What is the Kazakh federation afraid of?” - Tonev told a local Shtip radio station.

On April 21 of this year, the disciplinary committee of the Football federation of Kazakhstan threw out Tonev’s appeal, without him being present since they asked him not to come. That happened even after the police dropped all proceddings against Tonev for a lack of evidence.

Tonev said the following to sports.kz, “I know that my appeal was not accepted. Baurzhan Ausakov (head of the legal department of the Kazakh federation) told me that my suspension would be lifted if I paid 500.000 Tenge. He later added that I don’t have to come to the hearing of my appeal because he can pay the fine for me if I gave him 600.000 Tange. Furthermore, that would clear me from any wrongdoing. I have documents to prove that. The federation probably wants to hide the true culprits. They are well aware that I’m not guilty. Now they are scared that the federation, because of the forgery, can be penalized. Honestly, I don’t care about that now. My lawyers were constantly advising me to inform FIFA about this case, which I didn’t want to do as I was convinced that I would be treated fairly. I am clean before the law, so yes, I will now inform FIFA and I will also ask for compensation since I lost too much money because of the termination of my contract. This case has resulted in a huge scandal in Kazakhstan after the journalists revealed all the necessary documents. I gave them those documents and they published them, so the federation is facing deep problems now. I also want to add that I asked for help from the Kazakh players union, and after showing them all the documents I own, they said they would help me. After a while, they broke any contact with me. What happened? I have no idea. I was also offered help by the Football federation of Macedonia and by the Macedonian players union, which I firstly declined."The fake passport of Tonev; photo: sports.kzThe fake passport of Tonev; photo: sports.kz

Back in August of 2014, the Ministry of Interior and migration police in Kazakhstan announced that they never received any application from Tonev for him to become a Kazakh citizen. Thus, they concluded that his Kazakh passport was fake. Reports indicated that the photo on the passport was photoshopped.

Meanwhile, Tonev returned to Macedonia this winter as the Kazakh federation gave him the needed documents to make him eligible to play outside of that country. He signed a 6-month deal for top division side Bregalnica, based in the city of Shtip. Tonev is currently a vital part of their defense that has gone 11 games without a loss. Previously, they broke the Macedonian record for not conceding a goal as they went 912 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal in league play.

Tonev adds, “Regarding my career, this scandal will not cause problems. The Kazakh federation is now trying to save face by escaping penalty for the fraud. The only problem for me is that I lost money which I will attempt to get back. I have to say one more time that I’m not guilty in this case. I didn't even know that someone forged a different passport for me to play. I only have a Macedonian passport. I used it to enter Kazakhstan and then to leave the country. Those responsible for the forgery must take responsibility. If I’m wrong, then why did the federation issue me a certificate? I won’t give up.”

Surely something doesn't add up within the Football federation of Kazakhstan. How can Tonev be cleared from all the charges by the Kazakh police, but still be sentenced by the federation?

Nikola noted that when the ban is lifted, he would gladly return to play in Kazakhstan if there are any interested sides. If not, he would try elsewhere since he doesn't plan on remaining in the Macedonian league beyond the end of this season.

To see the conversation (in photos) between Tonev and Ausakov, click here and scroll down to the end of his interview (both the interview and the messages are in Russian).

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