Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Russian Football National League (FNL) has been in place since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, unchanged from 1994 and remains one of the toughest logistical and fiscal challenges in world football. The Soviet Top Division and First Division were combined into the Russian Top Division in 1992, with the new Second Tier regionalised into a Centre, East and West. However, this model was scrapped in 1994 in favour of a 20-team single-region division we see today. The Russian Top Division … [Read more...]

Kuban Crisis Could Promote FC Sochi

Being a football fan in Sochi isn’t the easiest thing. Although the city has the top modern Fisht Stadium, built for the Winter Olympics in 2014, and adjusted for the 2018 World Cup, the city’s best football club, FC Sochi, play in the Second Division South, the third tier, where they are currently 5th, 15 points from promotion. Nevertheless, Sochi could be about to earn a ticket to the Football National League, as the club could take Kuban Krasnodar’s spot in the division according to … [Read more...]

Evgeniy Seleznev and the Never-ending Kuban Circus

Just when it seemed Kuban Krasnodar's season couldn't get any more ridiculous, Evgeniy Seleznev has left the club he joined less than three months ago and has signed a two-year contract with his former club and Europa League semi-finalists Shakhtar Donetsk. He moved to Russia in the winter after having got to the final of Europe’s second-tier club competition last season with unfancied Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, but claimed to have not been paid in three months and to have lost patience with his … [Read more...]

Three Rounds Left – The fight to escape the RFPL drop

With three matches left to play, tension at the wrong end of the Russian Premier League has reached breaking point. If no team’s fate is sealed this mid-week, this coming weekend promises to be the most nerve wrenching affair with the bottom six all due to play one another. Five seasons back when the league underwent their restructuring to fall into line with the European season schedule (Autumn-Spring), the relegation playoffs were introduced to add an extra dimension to the domestic end of … [Read more...]

Ukraine Criticized for Not Selecting Russian Based Players

It is a widely held opinion that sport and politics should not mix, however, it seems that exactly that has happened within the Ukrainian national team this week. Two Ukrainian players based in Russia, who it was expected would be part of the senior and U21 squad respectively, have been left out. Yevhen Seleznyov, who has 48 caps for his country, moved from last year’s Europa League runners up Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine to Kuban Krasnodar in Russia during the winter break. Having … [Read more...]

Russia’s Seven Best Winter Signings

Jonathan Mensah FROM Evian TO Anzhi Makhachkala It was no surprise to see Anzhi sign a central-defender in the winter window. After all, they do have the worse defence in the league. What is surprising is the calibre of player they have signed in Jonathan Mensah - not to be mistaken for John Mensah. Experience is what Anzhi need and that is what they have got in Mensah. 36 caps for Ghana includes appearances at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup. He also played every minute of the Black … [Read more...]

The End for Arshavin?

After six disappointing months with Kuban Krasnodar in southern Russia, Andrey Arshavin was today released from his contract. The termination was announced on the official website of the Yellow-Greens and was described as a mutual agreement between the two parties, which Arshavin later confirmed to Sport-Express. The Zenit legend managed 356 minutes for Kuban spread over eight matches, in which he received two yellow cards and no goals or assists. Arshavin joined Kuban on a free … [Read more...]

RPL XI of players with less than 5 games played

Inspired by my recent articles on Christopher Samba and Mbark Boussoufa, two high-profile players who have fallen out of grace at their clubs, I have decided to put together a XI of the best players based in Russia who have played less than 450 minutes, or five full games, this season. The amount of minutes each player have played were found on Goalkeeper: Anton Shunin – Dinamo – 0 appearances, 0 minutes Most famous for being hit by a firecracker during a match … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: Euro 2016 preview, Kuban Krasnodar’s fall from grace, RFN Top 50 and transfer rumours

Host of the RFN Podcast Thomas Giles is joined by Andrew Flint and Toke Theilade to discuss the upcoming Euro 2016, Kuban Krasnodar's crisis, the RFN Top 50 and the latest transfer rumours. You can listen to the podcast on SoundCloud below. You can also download the podcast on Itunes. Don't forget to subscribe and please leave us a review. … [Read more...]

Is Vladislav Ignatjev Cherevchenko’s New Magician?

Since January, and thus the transfer period, started, Lokomotiv Moscow have been one of the most motionless Russian clubs transferwise; FC Krasnodar has signed Vyacheslav Podberyozkin from Ural, Dinamo have signed Stanislav Dragun and CSKA have reinforced their midfield with Kuban’s Sergey Tkachyov. Furthermore, Spartak and Zenit are expected to finalize the transfers of Lorenzo Melgarejo and Yuri Zhirkov soon. Now however, it seems like the waiting time for Lokomotiv’s fans is over, as they are … [Read more...]