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...]

Aleksey Smertin – From Siberia to Chelsea and Back Again

Born in 1975, Aleksey Smertin is regarded as one of the most recognisable Russian footballers having played for both Lokomotiv and Dinamo Moscow in Russia, as well as spells abroad with Bordeaux and Chelsea. He is now a Deputy Executive Director for Dinamo Moscow. Father figure Smertin was born in Barnaul, Southern Siberia. Like many, his dream was being a footballer. But unlike a lot of aspiring footballers, it was his Dad that was the focal force in making Aleksey, and his brother … [Read more...]

‘Strelec’ in the GULAG: Eduard Streltsov’s Incarceration and Survival in the Vyatlag Archipelago

Curse of the Råsunda Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm – for many Russian football fans a name synonymous with mythic tales of what might have been for the national sport, and their star player, Eduard Anatoliyevich Streltsov the “Russian Pelé”. Like so many other would-be football superstars he was tragically robbed of his career and could even be recalled as the “Russian Duncan Edwards”. The 1958 World Cup was the watershed moment in Brazilian Pelé’s career, on 29 June the then … [Read more...]