The Georgian Football Federation presidential elections which was held at “Holiday Inn” from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. was the most tense elections in history of the Georgian football. Finally, Levan Kobiashvili has won: 18 from 33 delegates voted for Levan and 15 voted for Revaz Arveladze. Mamuka Kvaratskhelia did not receive a single vote.
…But what was happening before the elections? In the morning about 200 fans gathered in front of the hotel. Most of them were Kobiashvili’s supporters, very few supported Arveladze. Levan’s supporters were from Zestafoni and Kutaisi.
At 11 a.m. delegates supporting Arveladze gathered in one room and delegates supporting Kobiashvili gathered in another room.
UEFA executive committee member Ihor Surkis arrived in Tbilisi as an observer of the congress. Davit Petriashvili, manager of “Hat-Trick” program in UEFA, also arrived in Tbilisi. They were in the room with Arveladze’s supporters.
Why were Arveladze’s supporters alone? According to Kobiashvili, Arveladze was trying to disrupt the elections. There was a clash between Kobiashvili’s supporter Mikheil Asatiani and Arveladze’s supporter Giorgi Khachidze.
“Please, tell me, who is Mr. Khachidze that is heading the congress? He locked delegates in the last room. We are waiting for the delegates. They should respect society. 18 delegates have registered, so there is a quorum and now there are 17 delegates in the room. The congress will not start unless there are 18 delegates” – Kobiashvili stated.
Archili, Shota and other famous players, including Giorgi Kinkladze, were supporting Revaz Arveladze.
Arveladze’s supporters were demanding that delegate Gega Gobejishvili who was detained by police the previous day must be set free.
This demand was fulfilled later. Gobejishvili was set free and arrived at “Holiday Inn”. However, he was not given a right to vote by UEFA recommendation. Gobejishvili was replaced by Zurab Petriashvili who was also supporting Arveladze.
“What are they waiting for? The delegate was replaced but they want to disrupt the elections” – Kobiashvili stated.
As for Kakha Kaladze, Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, his arrival at “Holiday Inn” caused different reactions. Some said as a politician he did not have a right to be there. Kaladze said he met UEFA vice president Surkis who he has known for a long time – when Kakha played for “Dynamo” Kyiv, Surkis was a president of the club.
Finally, the congress started at 19:20. Aleksandre Chivadze, acting president of the GFF, headed the congress.
Surkis demanded that journalists must attend the congress. 17 from 33 delegates were against of it.
The first issue to be put to the vote was if votes of Racha-Lechkhum-Kvemo Svaneti and Guria Federations should be restored. Of course, both votes were for Arveladze. However, votes were not restored and it became clear that Kobiashvili would win: 17:15, one vote was annulled…
The culmination started: presidential elections. 18 from 33 delegates voted for Levan and 15 voted for Rezo. One of Arveladze’s supporters voted for Kobiashvili.
Revaz was the first who congratulated Kobiashvili on victory. However, he looked very disappointed.
Levan Kobiashvili: “The Georgian football has won today. I want to thank all delegates, including Arveladze’s supporters. It is not my victory, it is a victory of the Georgian football”.
Almost 12-hour tense ended up with Levan Kobiashvili’s victory. He will head the GFF for the next 4 years.