Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League: The Eastern Solution

Vladivostok is a place considered the edge of the world, a city which causes one to conjure up evocative and redolent images of the far end of our world. Above all, as Vladimir Lenin once surmised; Vladivostok is far away, but it is ours. Lenin himself never did gaze across the Pacific Coast to the Sea of Japan himself, but his statue outside the cities' ostentatious station has guarded it for a century. It would take roughly a week to reach the Trans-Siberian Railway's western terminus in … [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...]

RFN Podcast – Dodgy Pitches, Crisis At Tom Tomsk And The Latest Aleksandr Kokorin Scandal

Host Thomas Giles is joined by usual guests Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint to discuss the recent suspension of matches at FC Rostov and Rubin Kazan as a result of their poor pitches following the uproar surrounding the issue in Rostov's Europa League clash against Manchester United. They then talk about the financial chaos at Tom Tomsk and question whether allowing them to continue in the Russian Premier League undermines the competition. Finally, Aleksandr Kokorin is back in the negative … [Read more...]

Editorial: Tom Tomsk Hurts the Sporting Integrity of the RFPL

Here are some numbers for you: Eight. That’s the number of months Tom Tomsk’s players have gone without being paid. 18. That’s the number of players who left the club this winter because of the unpaid salaries. 11. This was the number of academy players that were registered for the first team in the winter to replace those that left. 10. That’s the number of goals Tom have conceded in the first two Russian Football Premier League games this year. Zero. That’s the number of goals they have scored … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 3

Terek Grozny Terek had perhaps one of the quietest windows in the whole league. However, they did some business, and the first move raised eyebrows everywhere, as they struck early to sign Kosovan winger Bernard Berisha from Anzhi. While it was thought he would be leaving Anzhi in the window, many, including us at RFN, think very highly of Berisha, and to see Terek seal his signing was a huge shock, as a move to one of the larger sides would not have been a surprise considering his clear … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: Tom Tomsk

In the last 18 years, FC Tom Tomsk have been somewhat of a yo-yo club. Since 1998 they have resided within both Russia's top two divisions, achieving three promotions and also suffering two relegations.  Unfortunately for Tomsk, from what we have seen so far this season, it is currently looking like a 3rd relegation in as many years. The Siberian club are currently last in the RFPL with just nine points after the first 17 games. To make things even worse, Tom have just scored eight … [Read more...]

The Evolution of the 5 Man Defence in Russian Football

One of the most common opinions about the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) – rightly or wrongly – is that the style of football and tactical approach applied to the games is somewhat straggling behind the rest of Europe. Common observations from pundits and football fans alike include that the RFPL is one dimensional, the football in Russia is slow, the football is old fashioned and the players are thugs. Many of these opinions will be drawn from the showing of Russian clubs in European … [Read more...]

RFPL 2016/2017 – Who Has the Best Kit?

With the kick off to the 2016/2017 season, Russian clubs have all showed off their brand new kits. Some were nice, and some were downright ugly. In this article, we'll guide you through them all, and let you vote about which ones you like and which you don't like. Tom Tomsk The newly promoted Siberian side never hold an official presentation of their new kit, but they have already used them in a friendly game against Spartak Subotica. This light green shirt with black elements looks … [Read more...]

Garry O’Connor and the Golden Prison

  Towards the end of February 2006, it was announced that Scottish side Hibernian had accepted a £1.6 million bid for the striker Garry O’Connor from Lokomotiv Moscow. O’Connor was a promising young striker, and by joining the Railroaders he became the first Brit to play in the Russian Premier League. His move was somewhat symbolic, as it showed that the Russian clubs could now attract players from Great Britain, the birthplace of football. By moving to Russia, O’Connor went from … [Read more...]

Financial Crisis at Volga Nizhny Novgorod Hits New Low

Volga Nizhny Novgorod have endured a couple of difficult years, after three seasons in the Russian Premier League they were relegated to the Russian First Division where they finished in a very disappointing 13th place in the 2014/15 season. However, the manager who came down with them, Andrei Talalaev, has started somewhat of a revival this season. They currently sit in 7th place, only four points away from the Promotion Play-Off places, and have the second best defensive record in the division … [Read more...]