CHISINAU, Moldova, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A soccer club from a little-known territory between Ukraine and Moldova is creating a big stir in major-league European competition.
Almost everything about the club, F.C. Sheriff Tiraspol, from Transnistria, is treated as a virtual state secret, The New York Times reported.
F.C. Sheriff was started by a former KGB agent, so perhaps the secrecy surrounding it and its success comes naturally.
What is known is the club has won 11 of the last 12 Moldovan league titles, made enough money to build a stadium considered one of the best in Europe and hired top players from Africa and Serbia.
Although its black and yellow badge can be seen in stores everywhere in the territory, not even the most enthusiastic fans will talk about the team with outsiders.
Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova, is not recognized by anyone, including the governing body for European soccer. Still, F.C. Sheriff's success has pulled the team into the limelight.
It recently played a series of qualifying matches that could have propelled it into the group stage of the Champions League. Sheriff fell short, but it is still competing in the Europa League, where it will play Thursday against Olympique de Marseille.
After F.C. Sheriff defeated an Armenian team to advance to a match against a Serbian club in the Champions League, team press secretary Vadim Kolchev said, "We do not talk about money, about Transnistria or putting Transnistria on the map."
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