Since 2007, a number of football academies have been built in Armenia, the first of which was the Avan Football Academy.
Four academies have been built over the last 12 years and their construction was mainly financed by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). The construction organization of all 4 football academies built in Armenia is one and belongs to Ruben Hayrapetyan, the former president of the Football Federation of Armenia.
Avan Football Academy
Thus, on September 1, 2010, after the completion of three years of construction, the opening of Avan Football Academy took place with the participation of former President of the Football Federation Ruben Hayrapetyan, former President of UEFA Michel Platini (currently arrested on corruption charges) and Serzh Sargsyan.
It has 11 artificial and natural grass fields, 11 gymnasiums, 4 tennis courts, a large administration building, billiard and table tennis halls, fitness centre, a 49-room hotel, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, etc. The total area of the Academy is 11.6 hectares. As the real estate cadastre documents show, by the decision of former Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazaryan, the land has been completely given for free use to the Armenian Football Federation (AFF) since 2003. Later on, the next mayor of Yerevan, Yervand Zakharyan, also provided some of the land to the federation with the same principle. The land was provided for the construction of a football school.
However, as cadastral documents show, two months after construction some sections of the academy have been pledged to ARMBUSINESSBANK for $ 8 million. According to the loan agreement, the main building of the Academy, swimming pools, gym, cafe, garages, and other sections have been pledged.
Two years later, AFF has fulfilled its obligations and the property is out of collateral. However, 5.6 clause of the contract signed in 2002 for the transfer of the said property to the Federation prohibited the Federation from transferring or pledging all or part of its right to a third party.
As of 2015, the cadastral value of the academy was over 706 million drams. It is not clear from the documents how much money was paid to the construction company, but the documents show that there was one construction company responsible named Zeytun Furniture Factory. The 99% shareholder of the company is the former president of the National Assembly Ruben Hayrapetyan. Charter capital of the company amounts to about 168 million drams.
Gyumri Football Academy
In 2011 the construction of a football academy began in Gyumri. The Football Federation allocated 8 hectares of land in the suburb of Mush for the project.
In 2014 the academy was put into operation. It has 2 artificial and 6 natural grass playgrounds, as well as an administrative building. The plot belonged to the Gyumri community and in 2015 was transferred to the Football Federation for the construction of a sports complex on the basis of a donation contract. As of 2016, the cadastral value of buildings and constructions amounted to more than 35 million drams and the land plot – 40 million drams.
The administrative part of the Academy is approximately 1500 square meters. According to the documents the Fact Investigation Platform was provided by, the construction was again carried out by Zeytun Furniture Factory OJSC. In 2017, The academy was given to Shirak Football Club for a 5-year period for free.
The Gyumri Football Academy document package does not contain information about the stadiums, their number and the infrastructure of the academy other than the administrative building.
Vanadzor Football Academy
In 2016, a football academy was opened in Vanadzor. The 4.4-hectare area features 1 artificial and 3 natural grass fields. The area originally belonged to the Vanadzor community, then was transferred to the Football Federation of Armenia, which in turn handed the academy over to the Vanadzor Football Academy for free use.
Cadastre documents show that the construction company of this academy is also Hayrapetyan’s “Zeytun Furniture Factory” OJSC.
Referring to Article 8 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act (the information may not be disclosed if it contains state, official, banking, or commercial secrets), the Federation refused to provide Fip.am with a contract signed with the constructor of Vanadzor Academy and information about the purchase process.
In 2017, the Armenian Football Federation began the renovation of the Vanadzor city stadium. The construction company is again “Zeytun Furniture Factory” OJSC. It was planned that this fall the Lori football club would hold its meeting in Vanadzor at a new stadium, which, however, is not ready yet.
Vagharshapat Football Academy
In 2015 the construction of Vagharshapat Football Academy began in Echmiadzin. Two years later, the opening ceremony of the academy took place, with UEFA President Alexander Jeffery also attending, along with Serzh Sargsyan and AFF President Ruben Hayrapetyan. The academy was built on more than 5.5 hectares of land.
It belonged to the Echmiadzin community and in 2016 the land was transferred to the State Property Management Department under a donation contract, which was later transferred to the Armenian Football Federation for construction.
According to the plan, the Academy has 4 stadiums, an administrative building, a swimming pool, and a tribune. As with all football academies in Armenia, here too the construction was carried out by Zeytun Furniture Factory. It is noteworthy that the final act of construction was submitted to the Municipality of Echmiadzin at the end of 2018.
In Armavir, the federation is also rebuilding the Jubilee Stadium in Armavir. This work is also carried out by Zeytun Furniture Factory OJSC. The stadium is expected to open next year.
The AFF is silent
Ruben Hayrapetyan has been the President of the National Assembly for 16 years from 2003-2018. Armenian Football Federation does not elaborate on how Hayrapetyan’s company received the order to build all the academies Fip.am was not provided by any document that would provide evidence to the bid competition.
Asked whether Zeytun Furniture Factory was selected as a result of the competition or not, AFF answered that the “Avan, Vanadzor, Gyumri, Vagharshapat Academies were built exclusively at the expense of international organizations, and the procurement was done through the procurement process established by law.”
In a second inquiry, the FIP inquired the Federation about the organization that had built the Avan Football Academy and how much money had been allocated. This time they replied that the Federation had no information about the construction academy.
In another inquiry we requested to be provided with contracts signed between AFF and construction companies. AFF failed to provide the contracts and in its response to our inquiry, the Federation referred to Article 8 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, considering the requested information to be a state, official, banking or commercial secret.
How much does it cost to build academies?
However, in the open sources, certain data on the construction of academies becomes clear. Accordingly, the construction of the Avan Football Academy cost $ 12 million, of which $ 7.5 million was provided by UEFA, $ 400,000 by FIFA, and the remaining $ 4 million was provided by the AFF. The Vagharshapat Football Academy construction project cost 900 million drams, of which 250 million drams were provided by UEFA, 180 million by FIFA, and another 400 million by the Armenian Football Federation.
The project to build a football academy in Vanadzor has cost 1.1 billion drams.
The lion’s share of the financing, 982 million drams, was made by the federation and the rest by UEFA. The same amount was spent on the construction of the Gyumri Football Academy. During the construction of the academies of Yerevan, Vanadzor and Vagharshapat the project also included the construction of tribunes, whereas it is missing in the case of Gyumri Academy. Thus, although it is not clear how much Ruben Hayrapetyan’s company received for the construction of the academies, it is clear that these deals were concluded with conflicts of interest, as the contracts with Zeytun Furniture Factory were signed when Hayrapetyan took over. He was the President of the National Assembly.