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Russia’s Novatek denies repaying wage arrears to Capello in place of football union

January 27, 2015, 21:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Novatek signed an agreement on cooperation with the Russian Football Union in 2013 and became the general sponsor of the Russian national football team
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Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek has no intentions in helping the Russian Football Union (RFU) in repaying wage arrears to Italian head coach of the Russian national football team Fabio Capello, a source in the company told TASS on Tuesday.

Novatek signed an agreement on cooperation with the RFU in 2013 and became the general sponsor of the Russian national football team. The contract, however, expired in late 2014.

"Reports that Novatek will act as a sponsor in debt repayment to Capello are gibberish," the source said adding that there were currently no partnership relations between Novatek and the RFU while the issue of resuming cooperation was expected to be considered in March.

Capello and Oreste Cinquini, the Russian football team’s general manager, have been unpaid for over seven months. According to recent media reports, RFU’s debt to Italian managers totals some 600 million rubles ($8.9 million).

According to results of an inspection carried out in November by the Federal Agency for Labor and Employment (Rostrud) the debt stood at 181.5 million rubles, which ought to be repaid within a month, i.e. by December 19.

As the December 19 deadline passed Rostrud announced that it decided to grant an appeal from the country’s governing football body and extended the date for RFU’s required wage arrears payment for another month, i.e. until January 19, 2015. Rostrud, however, imposed financial fines of 40,000 and 4,000 rubles on the RFU and its President Nikolai Tolstykh respectively for the failure to pay salaries on time.

The Italian manager was not paid again as the deadline expired last week and Rostrud ordered another sudden inspection of the RFU. In case Capello is not paid, the RFU faces a financial penalty and Tolstykh may be suspended from his post for the period between six months and two years.

The RFU experiences financial difficulties and as of December its budget deficit totaled 500 million rubles ($8.4 million at that time). Following the session of the RFU’s Executive Committee last month, Tolstykh said that a special anti-crisis commission was intended to be set up to tackle the financial difficulties of the organization.

The Russian national squad experienced a string of setbacks over the past decade failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and 2010 championship in South Africa to the great dismay of the Russian football fans.

Things changed when Italian phenomenon Capello took over the team as the head coach and managed to help the Russian national squad to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The team, however, failed to clear the first stage of the much-anticipated global tournament putting their coach in the center of stern criticism and raising serious concerns in the country about the team’s performance in the next World Cup, which would be hosted by Russia in 2018.

However, Russia did not severe the contract with Capello after the Russian team’s performance at the World Cup in Brazil and the Italian manager also decided to stay with the Russian squad as the head coach until the year of 2018 as stipulated by the contract terms.

The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup almost four years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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