By Khachik Chakhoyan
In the month following the end of the 2004 Armenian season, FC Ararat Yerevan and FC Kotayk appointed new coaches.
Arkadij Andreasyan returned to the coach's role at Ararat, having worked both as coach and president at the club earlier in 2004. Ararat finished fourth in the table after his departure but he comes back under new chief executive Simon Nairyan and director Artur Karapetyan.
Khachatryan back at Kotayk
Kotayk's new coach is former player Martiros Khachatryan, who stepped in to replace Gevorg Kamalyan who left after just three months in charge. The club's financial problems may also ease after Iranian side Esteghlal Ahvaz signed a co-operation agreement with Kotayk. Under the terms of the deal, the Iranian outfit have agreed to help finance their Armenian counterparts. In exchange they will have the option of loaning players to Kotayk and vice versa.
Players from league champions FC Pyunik are also heading abroad with goalkeeper Apoula Edima Edel Bete joining French team Paris Saint-Germain FC, midfielder Carl Lombe set to follow him, and striker Galust Petrosyan signing for Moldova's CSF Zimbru Chisinau.
The young star of Armenian football, Pyunik forward Edgar Manucharyan, may also be on his way this winter, having had successful trials with Dutch giants AFC Ajax. The 17-year-old is expected to pen a permanent deal at the Amsterdam ArenA soon.
Finally, there has been a reprieve for relegated FC Shirak after the Armenian Football Federation's (AFF) executive committee agreed to allow the club to stay in the Premier League. Consequently, the league will comprise nine sides rather than eight in 2005.
With Shirak finishing outside the top three just three times in the 13 seasons since independence, the AFF argued that the team's hometown of Gyumri was too important to the development of football in the country to be without a top-flight club.
Money worries and the attending exodus of players resulted in Shirak sinking to the bottom of the table in 2004, but they will now join promoted FC Lernayin Artsakh in the new-look Premier League. The AFF is planning further admissions to the division as it aims to gradually establish a 14-team élite.
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