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Sports Minister Mutko rules out ‘10+15’ quota for foreign footballers in Russia

February 04, 2015, 15:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The bill envisages granting the Russian Sports Ministry the right of establishing and coordinating the limit of foreign athletes allowed to compete in Russia
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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday that there would be no "10+15" formula regulating limit of foreign players in the Russian football and the bill stipulating the quota of foreign athletes in Russian team sports would be submitted with lawmakers this month.

"We have received an endorsement from the presidential legal department concerning the bill regulating foreign athletes in sports," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "I will be introducing the bill to a government’s session in the nearest future. I hope it (the bill) will be submitted with the State Duma this month."

The bill envisages granting the Russian Sports Ministry the right of establishing and coordinating the limit of foreign athletes allowed to compete in Russia, who are also referred to as ‘

s’. Each sport would have its own limit for attracting legionnaires, according to the bill.

The draft law is also likely to stipulate obligatory criteria for foreign players, including their athletic qualification, age, period of permanent stay in Russia as well as athlete’s period of training in Russia and results achieved while competing for Russian sports clubs.

According to Mutko, all Russian sports federations received explanatory letters providing details of the draft law.

"We have informed the federations that in line with presidential orders the government will be setting a limit for each sport separately," Mutko said. "There was no need to hustle and make long-term decisions on limits without any consultations. Some of the sports, particularly football, failed to consult."

The Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) currently exploits the ‘7+4’ formula, which means that no more than seven foreign players can be simultaneously playing on the field for one club during the league’s matches.

Less than two months ago the Executive Committee of the Russian Football Union (RFU) approved a limit for foreign players allowed to be submitted by football clubs before each playing season at a formula of 10 foreigners plus 15 Russian players (10+15).

The decision on the limit of foreign players in Russian football drew criticism from Sports Minister Mutko as well as from Igor Ananskikh, the head of the State Duma’s Committee for Physical Culture and Sport. They both said the new formula was excessive and undermined the development of football in Russia.

"The adopted limit leads to commercialization of certain football clubs, but contradicts interests of the national sports development," Ananskikh told TASS last week. "The issue of legionnaires is particularly important in the run up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia."

The Russian national football team 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, however, when Italian phenomenon Fabio 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.

The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three 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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