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...]

Ural’s Great Escape

Pablo Fonatello probably deserved his long breath in the corridors of the Geolog Stadium just over a week ago. With a Terry Butcher-esque bandage still clinging to his forehead with genuine blood, sweat and tears, he slumped in the chair outside the changing rooms holding his young daughter having just put in an undisputed man-of-the-match performance to ensure Ural Ekaterinburg kept their place in the Russian Premier League. One would have forgiven him for having his mind elsewhere during the … [Read more...]

Five Things We Learned About Russian Football in March

1. Denisov's Lack of Respect for His Coach is Symptomatic of the Game If you look around the streets of average Russian cities nowadays, you don't see many 'pick-up' games, as Americans call it. These spontaneous kickabouts just for the love of playing are extremely rare, and this apathy is matched in the stands. Average attendances in the Premier League are hovering just over 10,000, boosted significantly by Zenit, Rubin Kazan and Spartak, and seeing Russian club shirts or memorabilia is … [Read more...]

An Englishman in Siberia: Winter Break Review of FC Tyumen

After four months of chilling wind, snow storms, frozen fingers, black ice on the roads and sheer boredom... IT'S BACK!! Football is back! Hallelujah! OK, the ice and snow are still largely here, but weekends now have meaning again. In England, I used to moan about waiting two months for the Premier League to start again, and even then there was usually an international tournament or two to keep me from panicking. The life of a Russian football fan, and a lower league one at that, is a whole … [Read more...]

Round Table: Russian Football in 2014

Andrew (@AndrewMijFlint):  English journalist and Russian football fan based in Siberia Aleks (@aleksvee): Dynamo Moscow supporter based in USA Saul (@SaulPope): Zenit supporter based in England Joel (@Vostok1981): Spartak Moscow support based in Portugal Valera (@ValeraPatotski):  Zenit St. Petersburg supporter based in Norway Xavier (@AxeMurderer60): CSKA Moscow supporter based in France Stefano (@confortistefano): Lokomotiv Moscow supporter based in Italy Toke … [Read more...]

Yevgeni Bushmanov – The Man Who Is Bringing “Hope” To Russian Football’s Future

“We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation” - Ivan Illich In a time where the alleged lack of talented young Russian footballers and the low expectations regarding the country’s football future serve as topic for many and many inconclusive discussions, it is certainly interesting to take a closer look at the splendid work Yevgeni Bushmanov has been conducting at Spartak Moscow’s reserves team (FC Spartak-2 Moscow). Bushmanov, as you might remember, was a fairly … [Read more...]

FNL Half Term Report

As the second tier closed up for winter at the weekend, there were some critical questions left unanswered. The first part of the league program has thrown up little surprise in the league table, with the possible early season form of Tosno, but the real problems lie off the field. Three years on from the highly controversial decision to alter the entire country's calendar to fit the European autumn-spring cycle and many clubs are finding life extremely difficult to sustain. Newly promoted … [Read more...]

FC Tyumen 0 – 1 Krylia Sovetov Samara

Tyumen: Sokolov; Pavlenko, Danilov, Kuleshov, Shlyapkin; Samsonov (Zarva 62), Telenkov, Klenkin, Chukhlei (Korobka 59); Cleyton; Mamtov. Krylia Sovetov: Konyukov; Bozhin (Obivalin 67), Nadson, Yatchenko, Kontsedalov; Tsallagov, Gabulov, Palienko (Eliseev 72), Tkachuk; Kornilenko (Dragun 69), Jahovic. GOAL: Kornilenko (51)   Sergey Kornilenko's powerful close-range header soon after half time was enough for Krylia Sovetov to see off a wasteful FC Tyumen as a clear handball … [Read more...]

Diary of an Englishman in Siberia – October Review of FC Tyumen

Results FC Tyumen 4-1 Sibir Novosibirsk Shinnik Yaroslavl 2-0 FC Tyumen FC Tyumen 0-1 Anzhi Makhachkala Baltika 1-1 FC Tyumen You know the saying about waiting ages for a bus, then two come at once? Well this simply doesn't apply to Tyumen and victories; more like wait ages for a bus, then one will eventually come, but that's usually it for a while. On the other hand, it definitely does apply to the ridiculous weather - wait half a year for snow, then it all arrives at once. The … [Read more...]