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KRASNODAR, April 28. /TASS/. Russian sports clubs will be significantly slashing numbers of their foreign players as envisaged by a draft law, currently debated by lawmakers, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.
"We chose the path reducing the number of legionnaires," Mutko said. "We will be significantly slashing their numbers because talks to ease the competitive situation are just talks."
On April 22, the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, passed in its first reading a bill regulating a limit of foreign athletes allowed competing in Russian team sports.
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 ‘legionnaires.’ Each sport would have its own limit for attracting legionnaires, according to the bill.
The draft law is also stipulates 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.
The issue of legionnaires in Russian sports was in particular attention regarding the football in Russia.
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 RFU Executive Committee 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 Russian Sports Minister Vitaly 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.