Luch Energiya Vladivostok’s Crisis Deepens

It is no secret that Luch Energiya Vladivostok, one of Russia's most Eastern football clubs is in problems up to its knees. The club has massive financial issues, and it has been on the brink of bankruptcy for a while now. On Saturday 4th November, another chapter was added to the sad tale about Luch Energiya. The Tigers were supposed to face FC Khimki in the  FNL, but the game was delayed by fifteen minutes. The reason for this was that the players were protesting against the sad state of … [Read more...]

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...]

A Mess Worth Making? – The Rise and Fall of Mordovia Saransk

In Russia as elsewhere in football, it is a reasonably rare thing to see a team emerge from obscurity, climb the league system and find itself dining at the top table of the national game. When it does happen, it is often thanks in no small part to a sudden influx of cash – Wigan, Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig – which history has shown does not always stick around. Even established clubs who catch the taste of success – Anzhi, Portsmouth, Deportivo – often find that their flirtations with glory come at … [Read more...]

Interview with Maksym Kalynychenko, Part Two: The FNL, Spartak under Oleg Romantsev, and more.

Maksym Kalynychenko, who played for Spartak Moscow from 2000-2008 sat down with Alexey Spektrowski in collaboration with our friends over at ProSpartak. Here we present Part Two of the interview in English, where the pair discusses the state of the FNL and Maksym's experiences of traveling throughout Russia, Soviet Football including the work and life of Nikolai Starostin and Oleg Romantsev's dominant Spartak Moscow side in the 1990s. Make sure to read Part One first, … [Read more...]

Interview with Maksym Kalynychenko, Part One: Spartak’s Situation Today

Maksym Kalynychenko, who played for Spartak Moscow from 2000-2008 sat down with Alexey Spektrowski in collaboration with our friends over at ProSpartak. Here we present Part One of the interview in English, where the pair discusses the current situation in Spartak, the players, and Massimo Carrera. ***   The first questions, of course, will concern Spartak. What happened in the game against CSKA? Well... Everyone saw what happened. We lost. Losing a game in two minutes is bad, … [Read more...]

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...]

Dinamo Moscow Return to the Top Flight After Hectic Season

On April 18 Dinamo Moscow, Russia's oldest football club celebrated its 94th birthday. Just five days earlier they had secured a trophy they had never won before, the Football National League, the country's second tier. After last season's catastrophic relegation, which meant Dinamo left the top tier for the first time since the foundation of the club in 1923, the White-Blues are now back where they belong as they have a 12-point gap down to the second place, and 24 down to the … [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...]

Baltika Kaliningrad – The Western Outpost of Russian Football

You may ask yourself the question why write your first blog about an obscure team who currently lay struggling dead last in the Russian second tier, the Football National League (FNL) on the road to nowhere apart from relegation.  The answer to that question (Whilst sounding strange to some) lies with my time whilst living in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. The continued rise of Russia on the international stage over the past ten years has given more and more notice to Russia's most westerly … [Read more...]