capacity home of Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova.
WITH six of the Saints' potential Champions League opponents already known,
over the next few weeks we will take a look at who we could face in the first
Sheriff Tiraspol is based in Transnistria, a break-away republic in the Republic
of Moldova, and is owned by the Sheriff Company, which also operates a chain
of petrol stations and supermarkets, a TV channel, a publishing house, a construction
company, a Mercedes-Benz dealership, an advertising agency, a spirits factory,
a few bread factories, a casino and a mobile phone network. Jewel in the crown is a newly built stadium and sports complex, built at an
estimated cost of $200 million, which includes a five-star hotel.
The name Sheriff comes from the two founders of the company, who were previously
Soviet police officers. The BBC says the company enjoys advantages from the
Transnistrian government, including tax breaks and the right to use hard currency
(instead of Transnistrian roubles like other companies).
According to Moldovan press sources, the Sheriff company might be a money laundering
scheme used by Vladimir Smirnov (who is also the head of the Transnistrian
customs), to cover the money obtained from trafficking of cigarettes, arms,
drugs and alcohol. Sheriff has denied this, calling it a fabrication and Moldovan "black
On the pitch, Sheriff have won the eight-club First Division for the sixth
successive season and hope to add the Moldovan Cup on 10 May, when they meet
FC Nistru Otaci in the final.
In the Champions League, they have won seven matches out of 20 played - last
season they beat Sliema Wanderers of Malta 6-1 on aggregate before falling
2-0 to Partizan Belgrade in the second qualifying round.
• Other possible opponents: MyPa-47 (Finland), Siroki Brijeg (Bosnia),
FH Hafnarfjardar (Iceland), Metalurgs Liepaja (Latvia), Ekranas Panevezys (Lithuania).
5 May 2021
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