MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Russian billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov’s 400 million rubles ($5.96 million) loan, extended to the Russian Football Union (RFU) on Thursday, will compensate only for 2014 wage arrears repayment to national football team’s head coach Fabio Capello, but not for January, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Friday.
Capello and Oreste Cinquini, the Russian football team’s general manager, have been unpaid since last June. According to earlier media reports, RFU’s debt to Italian managers totaled some 600 million rubles ($9 million). Tycoon Usmanov said his extended loan was extended for Capello’s wage repayment only, but he did not specify the dates for the repayment.
"I am not interested in this issue anymore," Mutko said. "Everything was repaid until January. The question of who will be paying Capello from now on should be addressed to someone else."
Extending the loan on Thursday, Usmanov said he made the move on request of Mutko and also because he was concerned with the future of the national football team, particularly in the run up of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia.
"I share the concerns of the Russian sports minister regarding the activities of Fabio Capello, the Russian national team’s head coach," Usmanov said. "I consider the situation that has been created by the RFU’s current leadership to be intolerable. It is a shame when a person who works for Russia is not paid for his work."
Usmanov owns the Mediaholding Company and the Kommersant publishing house; he is a coowner of the Metalloinvest holdings; the DST Global companies and the Mail.ru Group; the Muz-TV music television channel and the Arsenal football club.
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 in December, 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 in July of 2012 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.