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...]

Russian Club Owners: David Traktovenko (Sydney FC) – Developing Football Down Under

Born in 1956 in Leningrad, there was little doubt that David Traktovenko would grow up a fan of local side Zenit.  While he was also a keen follower of both basketball and ice hockey, football was his main love as he explained in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2011, “All the kids were playing football, I played in the backyard. I never played professionally, but I played at school, at university, with my friends. I was a midfielder. At 10 years of age, my dad took me to the … [Read more...]

Russian Club Owners: Evgeniy Giner (CSKA Moscow) – Raised Above Criticism

Being the owner of a sports club is one of the most thankless jobs in the world. The fans expect you to spend your own hard-earned money to develop the club and secure trophies, but when the trophies are won, the fans will thank the players and the coach. If it fails however, it is your fault, and the owner is always an easy scapegoat for all of life's problem. There are of course exceptions, and perhaps the best of these is Evgeniy Giner, the owner of CSKA Moscow. Since Giner entered the … [Read more...]

The Russian Mafia in World Football

Last season, RFN reported about the alleged involvement of Russian gangsters money laundering through a Portuguese second division side. Quite rightly, the European football establishment was appalled. However, this is not the first and certainly not the most high profile involvement of Russian bad guys in European football. In his new book; Thief In Law, a guide to Russian prison tattoos and Russian-speaking organised crime gangs, Mark Bullen gives us a rundown of how the Russian Federation … [Read more...]

Russian Club Owners: Dmitry Rybolovlev (AS Monaco) – Limited by UEFA Regulations

Following AS Monaco’s sensational Champions League campaign in the 2003/2004 season, where stars such as Jerome Rothen, Fernando Morientes and Ludovic Guily helped them beat Chelsea and Real Madrid before they eventually lost to José Mourinho’s FC Porto in the final, the club went through some meager years with the low being relegation in the 2010/2011 season. Despite the relegation the club and fans still considered the Red-Whites a major club, which their seven French championships proves, … [Read more...]

Russian Club Owners: Ivan Savvidis (PAOK) – Fighting Against the Establishment

The expectations were huge when Russian oligarch Ivan Savvidis bought the Greek club PAOK in 2012. The club from Thessaloniki in Southern Greece hadn’t won the league since 1985, and was slowly falling further and further behind the powerhouse Olympiacos, who have won 43 league titles in total, 18 of these coming in the previous 20 seasons. Savvidis is a Pontic Greek born in the Greek settlement of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1959. After serving in the army, he moved to … [Read more...]

AFC Bournemouth and Their Untypical Russian Owner Maxim Demin

The 2011/12 season started badly for AFC Bournemouth, with the team looking like being a part of the relegation battle after losing a few games at the beginning of the season. The struggling side looked like it was going to return to League 2, far away from the glory of the Premier League where we see them today. In fact, Bournemouth were sitting 21st when the Russian businessman Maxim Demin bought 50 % of the shares in the club in November 2011, a deal that made him co-owner of the club … [Read more...]