Revolutionary Origins in Pre-Revolutionary Russia: the development of football in the Tsarist Empire

24 October 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the first ever official football match played in Russia, a game between the Saint Petersburg Circle of Sports Lovers (SPb KLS) and the Vasileostrovsky Football Society. It was played out on parade ground of the First Military Academy, on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress. This match is commonly regarded as the birth of Russian football. Although the first organised national division wasn’t formed until 1923, and the Soviet National team did … [Read more...]

RFPL Round 14: Results and Team of the Week

From just one draw in the whole of Week 13, we have now been treated to a league-high of five draws in just eight games through Round 14. Who said Russian football is boring, eh? Despite struggling at the bottom of the table, and Arsenal Tula defeating Zenit St. Petersburg last time out, Anzhi Makhachkala managed to defeat Arsenal 3-2 at the Anzhi Arena on Sunday evening, and one of their players makes our Team of the Week at the top end of the pitch. Other notable results are the only other two … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan: How the son of an Armenian illegal immigrant became the ‘Grandfather of Russian Football’

245 matches, 160 goals, 0 yellow card and 0 red cards. These statistics are but a microcosm of Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan’s career for Spartak Moscow. Simonyan was as a player, manager, club ambassador and, above all else, still is a keen supporter of Spartak Moscow, and throughout this time has acted as a humble sportsman, functionary and gentleman. Upon celebrating his 90th birthday last season, the club hosted him as a honoured guest and invited him onto the pitch before the match with FC … [Read more...]

RFPL Round 14: Betting Advice and Previews

Match of the Round - Sunday, 14:30 BST: CSKA Moscow - Zenit St. Petersburg By Ilya Sokolov (@lokosokol) Two of the RFPL's elite sides meet this weekend, with Zenit arguably facing the biggest test of their new-found attacking flair this season. They have faced a so-so Krasnodar under Igor Shalimov and an underperforming Spartak side early in the season, but Viktor Goncharenko's settled and well-drilled side may become a stumbling block at home in front of a rocking crowd at the Grigory … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 13: Results & Team of the Week

Welcome to our inaugural RFN Team of the Week feature, in conjunction with our Betting Advice and Previews, we will review the weekend's action and each week our writers' will work together to decide the Premier League Team of the Week, decided upon the merit of their individual performances, with one player each week chosen as our Player of the Week. The number inside parentheses before the player name features how many times the selected player has featured in the RFN TOTW. Week 13 threw up … [Read more...]

Champions League Preview: Spartak Moscow – Sevilla

Spartak Moscow host Eduardo Berizzo's Sevilla side at the Otkrytiye Arena on Tuesday night. It is a key fixture for the home side, who are without a victory so far in the group stages. Spartak has won just two of their previous seventeen home games in the Champions League (D5, L10) and only kept one clean sheet in their last eighteen on home soil. However, have key players returning and are facing a makeshift Sevilla defence amidst an injury crisis. If Spartak takes their chances, may be able … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 13: Betting Advice and Previews

Match of the Round, Saturday 17:00 BST: FC Krasnodar - CSKA Moscow By Will Baumgardner (@WillBaumRFN) Krasnodar and CSKA come into this matchup tied for third place in the RFPL. Both squads have been in some middling form as of late, as Krasnodar have lost their last two games, while CSKA has drawn their last two. The winner of this game will gain a solid grasp on the third and final Champions League spot in the RFPL, so there is everything to lose. Krasnodar stadium had sold out its 34,000 … [Read more...]

International Preview: Russia – Iran

Friendly International – Kazan Arena, Kazan After the mess that was September’s hybrid friendly with Dinamo Moscow, this week sees Russia up their World Cup preparations with two home clashes with fellow guaranteed participants South Korea and Iran. After relatively easily dispatching South Korea 4-2 on Saturday, Sbornaya now faces Iran rejuvenated from Stanislav Cherchesov's policy of experimentation.   Tactical Approach As usual, Russia will lineup in their customary 3-5-2 … [Read more...]

Sergey Pryadkin on Reforming the Russian Football Premier League

The president of the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) and vice-president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), Sergey Pryadkin, in an interview with Russian news agency TASS has weighed his rather heavy opinion on how the new Premier League season is undertaking and insights into new regulations on the prospective foreigner limit, salary caps and much more.   On the Russian Cup While discussing the current Premier League season, Pryadkin expressed his "dismay at the RPL clubs' bad … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 12: Betting Advice and Previews

Match of the Round, Sunday 14:30 BST: Lokomotiv Moscow - Dinamo Moscow By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade) Once again, it is time for a Moscow derby. This time the game is played in Cherkizovo, where Lokomotiv are hosting Dinamo. Both teams have struggled recently, so this game is the perfect opportunity for them to bounce back. Lokomotiv are in good form Under the guidance of Yuri Semin, Lokomotiv have developed a lot this season. They are now picking up points they would have lost last … [Read more...]