Is football being used by Putin to expand the war?

Moldova went through 24 hours of turmoil following reports that a massive pro-Russian coup was being planned. According to Moldovan intelligence sources, the UEFA Conference League match between Sheriff Tiraspol and Partizan Belgrade was supposed to start a riot aimed at overthrowing the government.

By Emanuel Roșu and Dumitru Garcaliuc

On 14 February, two days before Partizan and Sheriff were supposed to meet in Chișinău in the first leg of the Conference League knockout round playoff, the Moldovan FA announced that the match would be played behind closed doors. The decision came following an open request made by SIS, Moldova's secret service, a day after president Maia Sandu spoke about Russia's plan to take control of the country.

Josimar spoke to relevant people inside the Moldovan Secret Service, to politicians and football officials to find out if the clash in Chișinău really played a role in Vladimir Putin's war plan.

"Russia's plan is to have diversionists with military background initiating violent actions, attacking state institutions and taking hostages," Sandu said on Monday 13 February. "Their aim is to change the political power in Chișinău," the head of state added. Sandu went on saying that the Moldovan intelligence office obtained documents intercepted by their Ukrainian colleagues clearly illustrating Russia's plan. "The papers show a thorough analysis on logistics and locations to start these actions against the public order. Also, the documents hold instructions on how you can enter Moldova if you're a citizen or Russia, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro."

She wasn't the only one speaking openly on the matter. Adrian Ch...

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