Russia’s Limit on Foreign Players set to be Changed

Massive news has just come out from Russia’s deputy prime minister and president of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, who has announced that the limit on foreign players in the Russian Football Premier League will be altered for the start of the 2018/19 season. He didn’t give any concrete details on the new limit, but he did mention that it would be a limit on registering players rather than a quota on how many foreign players can be used on the pitch at any time. Currently, the 6+5 … [Read more...]

Editorial: Structural Problems are the Reasons for Russia’s Early Exit

Three games, one victory and a quick exit. That was the result of Russia’s first major tournament on home soil, the Confederations Cup. The quick exit naturally let to discussions about who was to blame for the failure of once again not making it out the group stage, but head coach of Sbornaya, Stanislav Cherchesov, was quick to end these discussions. “This is my mistake,” he said in the press conference after the final game against Mexico, which was lost 2-1, and continued: “I will take it upon … [Read more...]

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...]

Russia’s Race From the World Cup

We live in very strange times. In Paris, just before Christmas, I had an overpriced, underwhelming coffee with a journalist friend of mine. A political animal and child of the Brussels bureaucracy, he was in high school with me for less than two months. We connected only a year back thanks to Facebook and it was our 2nd meeting. A polyglot (he speaks 11 languages) and bibliophile he has begun to learn Russian. His first question was - "Why does Russia not want to hold the World Cup?" As … [Read more...]

5 Things We Learned About Russian Football in October

1: Slutsky’s seat is heating up Last month I wrote that Leonid Slutsky had lost his aura of invincibility, now things have got even worse for the CSKA Moscow head coach. September saw the Army Men lose both Alan Dzagoev and Roman Eremenko, both key players, and Slutsky has obviously struggled to find a plan B without his two midfielders. The former Sbornaya boss has tried to rotate between Bibras Natcho, Astemir Gordyushenko and Aleksandr Golovin, but with no success. In October, CSKA fell … [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...]

Cherchesov Starts Rejuvenation Process

When Russia kick off their World Cup preparations on August 31, the squad will include several new faces. That became clear when head coach Stanislav Cherchesov announced his first squad as head of the Russian national team on Tuesday afternoon. Although Cherchesov claimed he wouldn’t revolutionize the squad when he was hired, he has made drastic changes already, and the group that face Turkey on the last night of August, and Ghana in Moscow six days later is remarkably different from Leonid … [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...]

Friendly Game to Help Restore Russian-Turkish Relations

After months of hostility, the governments of Russia and Turkey recently began normalizing their relationship and restoring the ties that were destroyed when a Russian jet intruded Turkish airspace in November, with Turkish troops later shooting it down and killing the pilot. As proof of the restoration of relations, a friendly match between the two countries’ national teams has been arranged for the end of this month, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s President, is expected to invite his … [Read more...]

Russian Dream Team – Martin and Roy

  Some years ago wokring on a project with Spartak, I suggested to, then, General Director Valeri Karpin that they hire Roy Keane. This was the week after they fired, according to supporters and owners, a "useless coach". The fact that the useless coach is now heading up the Qatar-Platini project in PSG shows more about Spartak's stability and vision than about Unai Emery. Last week I re-visited the idea when talking with a Russian football official, but with a twist. Last week it … [Read more...]