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...]

The FNL Cup – And Why It Matters

While fans back home shiver in temperatures well below freezing, the traditional winter break tournament featuring the majority of Russia’s second tier teams, the FNL Cup, kicked off today in the mild Cypriot sunshine. For most participants, it is their second or even third warm-weather training camp as they gear up towards the resumption of domestic league duty in March, and the 16-team event is ever so gradually edging into more than just a relaxing holiday. It is far from the finished … [Read more...]

UEFA Report Highlights Problems in Russian Football

UEFA recently published a report on the European football landscape, with numbers from the 2015 financial year. Over the span of 130 pages, the report covers the financial and off-the-pitch development in European club football, and some of the numbers highlight the biggest current problems in Russian football. The foreigner limit The limit on foreign players in the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) has been heavily discussed ever since it was introduced, and it was rekindled after … [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...]

RFN Podcast – Eremenko Banned, Rostov Face Bayern Munich And More Problems At Zenit Arena

Host Thomas Giles is joined by regular panelists Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint. The trio discuss the drugs ban imposed on CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko before previewing FC Rostov's match against Bayern Munich in the Champions League as well as predicting FC Rostov's general European chances. They then talk about the latest delay and corruption allegations surround the World Cup venue in St. Petersburg and ask if the chaos will ever end on Krestovsky Island. Finally they take … [Read more...]

5 Things We Learned About Russian Football in October

1: Slutsky’s seat is heating up Last month I wrote that Leonid Slutsky had lost his aura of invincibility, now things have got even worse for the CSKA Moscow head coach. September saw the Army Men lose both Alan Dzagoev and Roman Eremenko, both key players, and Slutsky has obviously struggled to find a plan B without his two midfielders. The former Sbornaya boss has tried to rotate between Bibras Natcho, Astemir Gordyushenko and Aleksandr Golovin, but with no success. In October, CSKA fell … [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...]

RFN Podcast: State Influence, Dinamo Moscow’s Recovery And Youth Development In Russian Football

Host Thomas Giles is joined by website editor Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint. On this podcast the trio discuss the state's influence on Russian football and whether this is a good thing for the future of the game in the country. They connect this issue with the resurgence of Dinamo Moscow in the second tier after last season's relegation before talking about youth development in the country - a frequent question from listeners and … [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...]