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Hõbepall 20: from historical moment to flop, what went wrong?

Angelo PalmeriComment

After our article Sõprus Cinema got in touch with us for explaining the situation.

From our side the conditions were agreed and according to the plans since the beginning,’ wrote Kristel Lepand from Must Käsi, the company controlling Sõprus Cinema. ‘When the possibility of a live broadcast from ERR (Estonian public broadcasting –edit) added, the conditions changed from both side. They wanted to rent the theatre for longer time, as a natural consequence also the rent fee changed.’ Longer time, higher rent fee. ‘From our side, we did our own last-minute corrections in a way that the live broadcast would have been possible,’ explained Lepand ‘after that, it was notified that the live broadcast would have not happened, therefore we changed the conditions back to the original plan.

Kristel Lepand concluded that ‘on our side everything was done to answer to the organizer’s demands.

Today, 2nd of January 2014, it was the day to assign the ‘Hõbepall 20’.

‘Hõbepall’ – Silver Ball – it’s the annual acknowledgement assigned by Estonian journalists to the most beautiful goal scored by Estonian internationals during the past year.

‘20’ stands for the most beautiful goal of the last 20 years as the prize was established and assigned for the first time in 1995.

The prize has seen among the winners the likes of all-time most-capped international Martin Reim (1995, 1997, 1999) Estonia’s all-time topscorer Andres Oper (2001, 2005) and Kostantin Vassiljev. The latter is the one to have collected most of those prizes (4) and he has been the titleholder for the last three years running (2011, 2012, 2013).

The journalists were to assign the prize at the theatre of Sõprus Cinema, which contains 210 people.

Vassiljev receives the 'Hõbepall 20' (photo: Andrian Tśeremenin)

Vassiljev receives the 'Hõbepall 20' (photo: Andrian Tśeremenin)

The event was announced with solemnity and tickets sold via the online tickets agency Piletilevi. However, on the New Year’s Eve a dry note on the Estonian FA website informed that the event was called out.

All sold tickets will be refunded,’ reassured the piece of communication adding that buyers have time until the 31st of January to claim their refund. ‘The organizer of the event apologizes for the inconvenience!

The event took place in Tallinn’s pub ‘Beer Garden’. The venue already hosted the event in the past years and it was a free entrance for whoever wanted to attend.

The 2014 Silver Ball was given to Siim Luts for his goal against Tadjikistan.
The Silver Ball 20 was awarded to Kostantin Vassiljev for his beauty against Holland (see video at the bottom).

Piletilevi announcement of the event (click to enlarge)

Assumingly, tickets sold were not enough to cover the costs of the theatre rent.
A financial setback that convinced the organizer (Raivo Rauts from Õhtuleht newspaper) to cancel the rent of the theatre.

We tried to contact Raivo Rauts, however, we have not received a reply yet.

One member of the EJAK (the Estonian Football Journalists Club), Kasper Elissaar (editor at commented in the website’s own forum that ‘the conditions were changed by Sõprus Cinema’. Raivo Rauts is also a member of the same EJAK.

The event was marketed as a landmark in Estonian football history. ‘This is a unique possibility!’ offered the announcement in the Piletilevi website, since the participants would have been involved in choosing the best goal. ‘Football history will be done in Sõprus Cinema.’ It will rather pass to the history of flops.

The price to participate to history was set at 8€. A ticket to a Premium Liiga game costs averagely 5€. Even the most die-hard fans might have found this price a bit dear.

When contacting Sõprus Cinema ( ) a laconic answer was given: ‘unfortunately we are not able to comment,’ redirecting us to Õhtuleht's Raivo Rauts.

Rumori is eager to collect voices of all parties involved (you can send yours in Estonian language):