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MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) said in its statement on Friday that it repaid wage arrears to Italian head coach of the Russian national football team Fabio Capello.
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). Russian billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov extended on Thursday 400 million rubles ($5.96 million) loan to the RFU to repay Capello’s wage arrears.
"Today the Russian Football Union held the necessary financial transactions to repay wages to head coach of the Russian national team Fabio Capello," the statement from the RFU said.
"The RFU thanks Russian Sports Minister, member of FIFA Executive Committee Vitaly Mutko for the help in finding the source for the repayment of wage arrears to the head coach of the Russian national team and also thanks businessman Alisher Usmanov for granting the loan for the purpose at the issue," the statement added.
Mutko told TASS earlier in the day that the extended loan to the RFU would compensate only for 2014 wage arrears repayment to Capello.
"Everything was repaid until January. The question of who will be paying Capello from now on should be addressed to someone else," Mutko said adding: "I am not interested in this issue anymore."
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 co-owner 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.