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Top Russian ref killed in plane crash
AFP, June 21st, 2011 1:53PM

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Vladimir Pettai, 38, a top-flight Russian referee since 2003 and a FIFA ref since 2010, was one 44 people killed on Tuesday when a Tu-134 jet crashed on landing in heavy fog early Tuesday at an airport in the northwestern town of Petrozavodsk.

"Pettai established a reputation as of the best and most experienced referees in our country," the Russian soccer federation said in a statement.

Pettai had refereed a match between Premier League clubs Dinamo and Rubin Kazan over the weekend and was flying from Moscow's Domodedovo airport to the city near where he was born. He was scheduled to referee another match Sunday between the Spartak Moscow and Rostov. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

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