1 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Chisinau / Near the circus in Chisinau is a monument with a football which was built when in the area the construction of a new sport arena was planned. The old, architecturally intresting Republican stadium of the city had then already been demolished (in 2007), but even after other two different plots were assigned and many promising stadium projects, the ball is still on the pedestal, but no new stadium has yet seen the light anywhere in and around Chisinau.
2 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Tiraspol / The dancers of the local “Sunshine” dance club ready for the show they will perform in the middle of the field during the game break. With two open arenas (of 13.000 and 8.000 seats) and a covered one of 3700 seats beside 12 training fields and the only Olympic swimming pool of the (Moldovan) country, FC Sheriff Tiraspol has significant financial means offering to the children of the region and the players an unique opportunity of development. These differences between FC Sheriff and the rest of Moldova play a role in the often contradictory relationship among the two sides of the river.
3 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Gagauzia / Ceadîr-Lunga / In the area of the FC Saxan stadium in
Ceadîr-Lunga in the South of Moldova, the guardian of the compound is burning collected
leaves and grass. The local club is the only one in the first league representing Gagauzia,
which is an autonomous region populated by a minority speaking a turkic language, and with tight connections to Turkey and Russia.
4 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Chisinau / Supporters of FC Dacia Chisinau from the group Noua Legiune gather near the circus before leaving for the match. The bus is sponsored by the club in order for the ultras to be able to join: otherwise rarely young Moldovans have the means to travel around the country following their team for the away games.
5 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Ternovka / Some supporters of the FC Zimbru Chisinau sing for their team in the stadium of the FC Dinamo Auto, which is located on the left bank of the river Dniestr. In order to reach the game the supporters have to pass a border control and receive a 10 hours visa for the territory of Transnistria.
6 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Speia / A couple of supporters from FC Zimbru Chisinau hug in the stadium of their big opponent, the FC Dacia Chisinau, while waiting to be allowed out with the escorted bus. Zimbru against Dacia is the Capital city derby, which takes place in Speia though, the new home base of Dacia. FC Zimbru (founded in 1947) is the oldest team of the “Divizia Nationala”, the Moldovan first league, the only left with a real tradition, and also counts some decent results in the first and second league of the Soviet Union. It did only succed once to be champion once, though, since the fall of the wall and especially since FC Sheriff made his appearance on the league. FC Dacia is their new opponent from the Capital and its supporters have strong ties to Romania, many also believe in reunification with it.
7 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Tiraspol / Sheriff sport complex, small arena / FC Sheriff Tiraspol - FC Misami Orhei 2 - 0. Among the VIP public at the game, the injured player Maxim Potirniche in the middle and the families of active players cheer a goal their club just shot.
8 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Balti / FC Sheriff star player Vujadin Savic is seen during an interview after he played for the game against FC Zaria in Balti. In the background Soviet buildings and in the foreground the modern yellow FC Sheriff bus on a rocky pavement. Balti is known as the Capital of the North and with a majority of Russian speaking population the city has more ties with Russia. Supporters of FC Zaria Balti, though, are enemies with the also Russia friendly FC Sheriff Tiraspol.
10 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Balti / A big crowd regularly follows the FC Zaria playing in the home stadium of Balti. The city is also known as the “Capital city of the North” of the country and the team is supported by the local mayor and businessman with tight connections to Russia.
11 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Orhei / FC Milsami Orhei - FC Zimbru Chisinau. The red bus of the FC Milsami team is driving the road along the communal stadium of Orhei while a woman in red and black colours walk by. The club is based in the city of Orhei, some 60 kilometres North of the Capital. Leaded by the local mayor and businessman, the club has recently won the national title for the first time in its young history (2014/2015 season). The mayor (and club’s president) has started an unprecedented campaign of refurbishments in the city, mostly personally financed by his own means, as well as many other initiatives to gain support from the struggling population. He is still a suspect for the theft of the century, executed to the detriment of the Moldovan national banks in 2014.
12 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Orhei / Viewed though the bus window, the supporters of FC Milsami Orhei are having a toilet break while traveling to their team for the Europa League against St. Etienne, played in the Zimbru stadium of Chisinau. Before departure the head of the ultras was distributing free stadium entrance tickets everyone sitting in the numerous organised buses and minibuses. The club FC Milsami, located in the city of Orhei, some 60 kilometres North of the Capital, has recently won the national title for the first time in history (2014/2015 season) and is leaded by the local mayor and businessman. He also started unprecedented campaign of refurbishment in the city, mostly personally financed by his own means. He also is the oligarch accused of the biggest robbery in the Moldovan National bank.
13 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Gagauzia / Ceadîr-Lunga / The equipment manager of FC Saxan is holding the ladder to help repair the goal, one day before the game. He was born in Gagauzia and is very proud of his origin: he believes sport and football can help make the Gagauzian flag more seen and help making the local culture better respected and recognised in the Moldovan state system.
14 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Speia / FC Milsami Orhei supporters enter the stadium for the game against FC Dacia Chisinau in Speia. Speia is located 70 km from Chisinau on the river Nistru and used to be very rich with greenhouses and conserves factories before it suffered the economical and demographic decay common to the whole country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. With 10.000 seats, this stadium have been the effort and pride of the local workers. Today in the village only 2.800 inhabitants remain while the rest is either in Russia or Europe searching for jobs. The sport arena belonged to FC Dacia until 2017, when the 18 years old club from the Capital Chisinau dissoleved. Games are mostly attended by pensioners, children and some ultra groups transported from the city on the expenses of the club.
15 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Tiraspol / V. is one of the Zimbru ultras who has been ambushed and beaten by a big group of Sheriff's supporters, a fight which took place right outside of the Sheriff stadium in Tiraspol on a freezing November evening. The beaten supporters from Chisinau had to follow the police to a Transnistrian station afterwards, where they (as well as the photographer) were ID checked and then sent back escorted by train. Sheriff-Zimbru is the big derby of Moldova and often ultras and hooligan groups engage in organised or spontaneous bare-hands conflicts.
16 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Ternovka / FC Dinamo Auto player Vadim Cemirtan in the parking of the stadium after a match with many lost chances for goals. FC Dinamo Auto is a recently created team located in territory of Transnistria, on the left bank of the river Dnestr. The Club is said being part of a football network build by the owner of FC Dacia Chisinau, a network which supposedly helps develop and loan young players. Cemirtan finally managed to play in the main team FC Dacia one year later and lately found his success in Uzbekistan.
17 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Ghidighici / FC Milsami Orhei plays an away game at the Ghidighici stadium against FC Academia Chisinau as the defender Gheti looks out of the window from the changing room during the half time break. The three rows terraces are located very close to the changing rooms and directly bordering the field. Ghidighici is a small town in the Chisinau municipality with a stadium more apt for local children tournements than a first league. The Moldovan first league football panorama ranges, in fact, from the ultra professional facility of FC Sheriff to the village turf of FC Academia, demanding the players extra energy to adat to the different conditions.
18 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Chisinau / Derby day with FC Sheriff Tiraspol (the Capital of Transnistria) playing in Chisinau (the Capital of Moldova) at Zimbru stadium. After loosing 0-1 to Sheriff, the Zimbru players go greet the ultras under the terraces: here they reach the “Russian” ultras groups. In fact, the team always walks to meet both supporting clubs, located in opposite sides of the stadium.
19 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Gagauzia / Ceadîr- Lunga / the keeper of the stadium checks the seats for a round in the evening. The seats have the colors of the Gagauzian flag: blue-white-red.
20 / 22
Republic of Moldova / Transnistria / Bender / Supporters are having a smoke break while waiting at the ADL (Administrative Boundary Line) with Transnistria. The supporters of Dacia Chisinau took a private minibus to travel to Tiraspol where the game FC Sheriff - FC Dacia will take place. Another derby, as both clubs are from Capital cities of respectively the official Republic of Moldova and the unrecognised Transnistrian Republic. In order to reach the game, the supporters have to bring and show their passport to the Transnistrian officers and get a permit (a kind of visa) to enter the region, which is valid for ten hours.