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...]

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...]

RFN Podcast: State Influence, Dinamo Moscow’s Recovery And Youth Development In Russian Football

Host Thomas Giles is joined by website editor Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint. On this podcast the trio discuss the state's influence on Russian football and whether this is a good thing for the future of the game in the country. They connect this issue with the resurgence of Dinamo Moscow in the second tier after last season's relegation before talking about youth development in the country - a frequent question from listeners and … [Read more...]

Big Challenges Awaits Cherchesov

After weeks of speculation and waiting, Vitaly Mutko finally presented Russia’s next national team coach earlier this week. The choice fell on 52-year-old Stanislav Cherchesov, who led Legia Warsaw to the Polish double last season, and he has signed a two-year contract with the Russian Football Union. The Ossetian-born coach won the job ahead of Kurban Berdyev, Sergey Semak and Aleksandr Borodyuk, who all had meetings with Mutko as well, and the goals set for Cherchesov and Sbornaya are enormous … [Read more...]

Ilya Gerkus – A Zenit Man to Revive Lokomotiv

After weeks of speculation, Lokomotiv Moscow officially confirmed the departure of president Olga Smorodskaya on Wednesday. After six years of war against the fans, Smorodskaya announced her resignation on the club’s official website, stating that: “There have been mistakes and achievements, disappointments and discoveries. But there is nothing to compare with absolute happiness that football can bring. When your favorite team is awarded medals. When a cup is brought into the locker room. … [Read more...]

Mario Fernandes – Sbornaya’s Latest Brazilian

When Brazilian born Guilherme Alvim Marinato, better known as Guilherme, played 45 minutes for Russia against Lithuania in March, he became the first player born outside of the former Soviet Union to play for Sbornaya. On Wednesday another Brazilian, CSKA’s Mario Fernandes, received Russian citizenship as well, but this is also where the similarities between the two ends. Because while Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Guilherme went the long way through the official channels, learning Russian and … [Read more...]

The Foreigner Limit and Exorbitant Parties in Monte Carlo

Russia’s poor performances at the Euros have naturally given birth to a large amount of soul searching and discussion about the state of Sbornaya and why it continues to fail on the biggest stage. More than 860,000 people have already signed a petition at social activism website Change.org to disband the national team, while president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) Vitaly Mutko, who is also the Russian sports minister, has expressed a wish to revamp the team, and build it around players … [Read more...]

What Does Gianni Infantino’s Presidency Mean for Russia?

On Friday the 26th of February, FIFA elected a new president. After two close rounds of voting, Gianni Infantino from UEFA won the race ahead of Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa from Bahrain. The voting was anonymous, and it is therefore impossible to say with certainty who Russia voted for, but there is no doubt that Russia were on good terms with both of the main candidates. Like most of Europe, Vitaly Mutko (pictured above), the Russian sports minister and president of the Russian … [Read more...]

Is the Attitude Towards the Foreigner Limit Changing?

In 2005, the Russian Football Union (RFU) approved the introduction of a foreigner limit in the Russian Premier League. The limit was approved after a long period of poor performances by the Russian national teams, and the failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Russia finished third in their qualification group after Slovakia and Portugal, and the absolute low-point during the campaign was a 7-1 defeat in Lisbon against Portugal. On top of … [Read more...]

Round Table: Leonid Slutsky, Kuban Krasnodar and the Title Race

Our panel consists of: Joel Amorim (@Vostok1981): Founder of TheOldNumber10, Writer for RussianFootballNews, BettingAdda, Futnsoccer and The Secret Footballer Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint): Writer for TheseFootballTimes, Futbolgrad, RussianFootballNews and BackPageFootball.com Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade): Editor in chief at RussianFootballNews, featured at Futbolgrad, ThinkFootball and TheseFootballTimes Johan Nilsson (@Jni84): Russian football blogger at Svenskafans.com David … [Read more...]