Russian Transfers – Homeward Bound

Each year we read the same nonsense with Russian transfers. XXXX is on the way to an English or German club. It's a done deal. It's in the final stages. A month ago CSKA Moscow's Golovin was about to join Arsenal. That was June 10th. Three days later the same news outlet reported Arsenal's Russian scout, Pavel Kucherov, said He is not talented enough for the European level and it’s unrealistic to discuss his transfer to a top Premier League club. Fanboys and journos went into overdrive with a … [Read more...]

Irish solution for a Russian problem – Russian League Realignment

I'll be slaughtered by friends at home over this, though I happen to think the 10 team Irish Premier Division is a decent idea. Stay with me. I think it's a good idea as we don't have enough talent or money to go around. We don't have enough fans to go around. I don't want to see a closed off League, though what happens with the First Division is equally as important to me. Yet in order to get football moving in Ireland, bringing in crowds, sponsors and players, a 10 team division is the best … [Read more...]

We are Russia – United Against Discrimination

Today, March 21st, is the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. March 21st 2017 is the day when Russian football took a leap forward and begun the drive to ensure that sports will be fight all forms of discrimination, in sports and society. It is a big though much needed task. The "We Are Russia Against Discrimination" #WeareRussia #AgainstDiscrimination project was launched, bringing together 3 driven entities. A project to fight Racism and … [Read more...]

All aboard the Good Ship Anti-Russia

I don't know if it can be termed anti-Russian or anti-Russia as those lining up to take shots are a mix of both. The sentiment remains the same, Russia/Russian bad and we're going to prove it no matter what - even if there is no proof. It's a great time to turn rogue and go full on with the prevailing wind, it will make you money. And if you're good, it'll be regular. Fashionably Anti-Russia A writer on Russia, whom I respect and with pleasure co-operate with, had a chance to make some decent … [Read more...]

‘Strip Russia’ campaign aiming for World Cup 2018

So there it was. Russia just awarded the World Cup in 2018, and the prime time sports show on Ireland’s top radio station, RTE Radio 1 and I got the call to give our reaction in Moscow. It was fair enough; I’d helped on the bid and worked in Russian sport. Logical as they couldn’t get anyone from the Russian Football Union (RFU) or a Russian sports journalist to come on. Plus my colleague was contracted with RTE and the producer knew me personally. I was there as a favor to give local reaction, … [Read more...]

Russia’s Race From the World Cup

We live in very strange times. In Paris, just before Christmas, I had an overpriced, underwhelming coffee with a journalist friend of mine. A political animal and child of the Brussels bureaucracy, he was in high school with me for less than two months. We connected only a year back thanks to Facebook and it was our 2nd meeting. A polyglot (he speaks 11 languages) and bibliophile he has begun to learn Russian. His first question was - "Why does Russia not want to hold the World Cup?" As … [Read more...]

Fake News is not Good News – Russia and FIFPro

A few days after FIFPro, the international union for professional football players, unveiled the "Biggest ever football survey", I met with the President and CEO of Russia's legal Footballers Union (ARFPU), Alexander Zotov. It was on the sidelines of a Sponsorship in Sports Forum and despite the bling and jazz of stars and big hitters in the Hilton, the most interesting story came from Roman Shirokov and Zotov. We will recall the issues surrounding the 2 footballers unions in Russia. One … [Read more...]

Much ado about something – The Tsar Returns

A precedent was set in 2010 that played out at the election Saturday. In 2009-10 I was working with Sergey Kuzmin on his election campaign. His goal, become President of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and make Russian football a force to be reckoned with. He had the most solid platform of the three candidates and emphasising children's football and making football popular. However as election day began, it was clear he'd not do much better than 2nd place and cause a split in the game. So he … [Read more...]

Russian Election – Football Awaits a Tsar

I feel like a veteran now. In 2009 I worked on Sergey Kuzmin's 2010 campaign for election to the post of President of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and in 2011-12 was with him when the regions anointed Nikolai Tolstykh to highest position in Russian football. Now it's my 3rd election and I'll again be involved, though this time purely in a journalistic capacity. And of all three, this will be the most interesting. And what's better, what happens around this day of days in Russian football, … [Read more...]

Moscow Madness – Two Clubs, One Problem

If Bill Murray were alive today and wanted to update his classic "Groundhog Day", he'd most likely set it in Moscow and be a sports reporter. Thankfully he didn't die in that Thelma & Louise style crash and both he, and the groundhog, continue their acting careers. Yet the fact remains, we are living through Groundhog Day in the latest outbreak of Moscow Madness. Comedy Clubs A popular show on Russian TV is Comedy Club, which is about as funny as having a prostate check from Captain Hook. … [Read more...]