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...]

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...]