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...]

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...]

Russia’s Limit on Foreign Players set to be Changed

Massive news has just come out from Russia’s deputy prime minister and president of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, who has announced that the limit on foreign players in the Russian Football Premier League will be altered for the start of the 2018/19 season. He didn’t give any concrete details on the new limit, but he did mention that it would be a limit on registering players rather than a quota on how many foreign players can be used on the pitch at any time. Currently, the 6+5 … [Read more...]

Editorial: Structural Problems are the Reasons for Russia’s Early Exit

Three games, one victory and a quick exit. That was the result of Russia’s first major tournament on home soil, the Confederations Cup. The quick exit naturally let to discussions about who was to blame for the failure of once again not making it out the group stage, but head coach of Sbornaya, Stanislav Cherchesov, was quick to end these discussions. “This is my mistake,” he said in the press conference after the final game against Mexico, which was lost 2-1, and continued: “I will take it upon … [Read more...]

Terek Grozny’s Name Change – A Political Tool

In the recently finished season, Terek Grozny finished fifth. It was the best result ever by the Chechen side, who have played in the Russian Football Premier League since 2008. Under the guidance of head coach Rashid Rakhimov, who has led the club for three years, the team has developed gradually, finishing each season in a better position than in the last. Now however, it seems that the pressure on the team is about to skyrocket as the club has a new name. “Dear friends,” Ramzan Kadyrov, … [Read more...]

Naturalisation and Foreign Player Limits in Russian Football

In the last couple of years, Russian football has seen a huge increase of naturalised players in the country’s top division, as well as the first ever naturalised players in the national team. Although this was a controversial decision by the Russian Football Union (RFU), what really caught many people's eye was how these players were able to obtain citizenship. Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Marinato Guilherme was the first non-Russian to play for the national team, and although many Russian … [Read more...]

Dinamo Moscow’s 1945 Goodwill Tour of Britain

“The Russians are Coming”: Arrival 4th November 1945, Croydon. Two planes, appearing to be Douglas DC-3 Dakotas, approached the runway and touched down amidst a barrage of London sunshine, a characteristically mundane and everyday sight for an airport which based RAF Transport Command from 1944. These giant planes would ferry ammunition and vehicles from factory to operating unit throughout World War Two. However, on this day, the influx of these two planes was a prodigious and preternatural … [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...]

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...]