Europa League Preview: Crvena Zvezda – FC Krasnodar

First Playoff Round, Second Leg: Fyodor Smolov's Return? Last week’s Europa league clash between Krasnodar and Crvena Zvezda was a thriller. Featuring five goals, one improperly disallowed and scoring chances aplenty, there was no shortage of excitement at the Krasnodar Stadium. Krasnodar comes into this game with a deserved 3-2 lead after they controlled most of the game at their home arena. Though Krasnodar does have this lead heading to Serbia, Crvena’s two away goals mean that they are in a … [Read more...]

New Stadia’s Impact on Attendances in the RFPL

Low attendances in the RFPL have been the subject of much debate and despair. People have put forth many different reasons for the poor league attendance, which has hovered around 11,000 per match for the last few years. In comparison, the Bundesliga averages 41,000 per match, and the English Premier League averages 35,000 per match. Some say that the quality of the league is too low, while others, including then-Sbornaya coach Leonid Slutsky, claim that Russia is simply not a footballing … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: FC Krasndar – Crzena Zvezda

First Playoff Round, First Leg: Bulls Bullish or Red Star Gleaming? Krasnodar enters this week’s Europa League match against Serbian side Crvena Zvezda in some spotty form. As of late, they have drawn against two potential relegation candidates in the RFPL. Between these disappointing draws came a last gasp victory over FC Akhmat, who is expected to challenge for European places this year. On top of their questionable form, injury concerns abound for Krasnodar, with some newcomers potentially … [Read more...]

Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Football National League is the biggest football league in the world according to geographic area, covering over 4,500 miles as-the-crow-flies and even crosses eight time zones. Due to the size of the league and other problems synonymous with Russian football such as fiscal instability, political corruption and systemic mismanagement, many clubs - as previously explored - do not face a race to thrive, but a battle to survive. READ PART ONE: Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football … [Read more...]

Krasnodar’s Youth Academy Bearing Its First Fruits

Just nine years ago, FC Krasnodar was formed. Founded and owned by billionaire businessman Sergey Galitsky, the intentions were not to go gung-ho with their money like the then free-spending Anzhi Makhachkala but to build from the bottom. This included the installation of a youth academy, which would recruit boys of all ages, with the intention that one day, half of the first team would be graduates of the school, and so the Krasnodar Academy was born. The Krasnodar Academy is situated next … [Read more...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Krasnodar

Krasnodar have qualified for the Europa League three years in a row now and will be aiming to do so again in Igor Shalimov’s first full season in charge of the Bulls. This may look harder than ever with the disappointing performances of the team last season both in Europe and domestically, questions marks over the future of star player Fyodor Smolov and the emergence of Rubin Kazan and Akhmat Grozny as genuine contenders for European qualification. This summer has been somewhat of a … [Read more...]

Fyodor Smolov – Russia’s Brightest Star

Fyodor Smolov’s rise to stardom has been anything but conventional. His unique resume includes multiple unsuccessful loan spells, as well as a season spent on the edge of Siberia, and yet today the striker stands as the back-to-back scoring champion of the Russian Football Premier League, and arguably Russia’s brightest star, something he also proved at the recently finished Confederations Cup. While he was always recognized as having vast potential, it took Smolov more time than most to fulfill … [Read more...]

The importance of the Europa League and Russia’s standing in European Football

It goes against reason to argue that Russia deserves another Champions League spot given we’re coming off the back of one of their most dismal tournament performances to date, with both Premier League representatives exiting in the group stage prior to the winter break. However, despite their shortcomings in UEFA’s premier competition, the Russian Football Premier League is primed to overtake the Portuguese Primiera Liga in becoming Europe’s 6th best league and clinch another direct ticket to … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 1

The Russian transfer window closed at the end of February, and as we have finally gathered the full overview over a long and hectic winter, it is time to evaluate how the 16 Russian Football Premier League clubs did in the transfer market. In the span of three articles, which will be published in the following days, we'll evaluate all the clubs and grade their dealings. Amkar Perm Amkar started the window in the worst possible fashion, losing Russian prospects Aleksandr Selikhov and Georgy … [Read more...]