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Veteran Football Coach Shot Dead in Moscow

A veteran football coach who recently defended his boss in a major embezzlement trial was gunned down in central Moscow, investigators said Thursday.

Yury Shyshlov, 66, died in the hospital after being seriously injured in the attack late Wednesday, said Sergei Marchenko, spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee.

Marchenko said the unknown attacker used a gun equipped with a silencer, which was found at the crime scene on Ulitsa Sergeya Makeyeva near the Ulitsa 1905 Goda metro station, RIA-Novosti reported.

Investigators were trying to establish a motive for the killing.

Shyshlov testified in a Yaroslavl court on behalf of his boss Vladimir Shepel, general director of Yaroslavl's Shinnik football club. Shepel was sentenced to five years in prison in late July on charges of embezzling $500,000 allocated for the team.

Shyshlov criticized the case as "made up" in an interview with the Sovietsky Sport newspaper in June 2009. As for Shepel, "Volodya is a very hard-headed guy, but you have to be flexible,” he said.

Sovietsky Sport, which conducted its own investigation into the embezzlement charges, called Shyshlov a “key witness” in the case.

A former Soviet football player, Shyshlov was a well-known figure in the sometimes murky world of Russian football. He worked as a coach for several regional clubs and led several teams to the country's premier league.

“He was a very professional football manager, and his leadership provided a boon for Lipetsk football,” said Olga Altukhova, spokeswoman for the Lipetsk Metallurg football club, which Shyshlov led as general manager in the mid-1990s.

She said football players and fans would observe a moment of silence for Shyshlov.

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