Point of View

The Paradoxes of Moldovan Sports. An insight into the nature of the Transnistrian conflict

Mutual relations in the area of sports, which in contemporary international contacts often not only reflect the true nature of political relations but sometimes even affect them, can be a valuable contribution to the analysis of this conflict’s nature.

Why did the Transnistrian government, despite the use of anti-Moldovan rhetoric, agree to Transnistrian athletes representing Moldova during the Olympics and in other international competitions? Why does it accept the presence of sports teams from both banks of the Dniester playing in the same leagues? Why does Transnistria, despite being much smaller, predominate in many sports? How is it that Sheriff Tiraspol, the flagship football club of the business and political circles controlling Transnistria, managed to win the Moldovan championship ten times in a row and is the main source of players for Moldova’s national team? Does sport really ‘know no borders’ or perhaps the border on the Dniester is different than seems at first sight?