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MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) must immediately ditch a contract with national football team’s Head Coach Fabio Capello, a senior Russian lawmaker told TASS on Monday, a day after Russia’s 0-1 defeat to Austria in UEFA Euro Cup 2016 qualifier.
Sunday’s qualifier defeat in Moscow placed in extreme jeopardy Russia’s chances of travelling to France in 2016 for the Euro Cup. The Russian national team is now ranked 3rd in its qualifying Group G with 8 points below 2nd ranked Sweden (12 points), while the Austrian team increased its lead over the rest of the five national teams in the group to 16 points.
"Coaches should be the first to be ashamed of such game," Igor Ananskikh, the head of the State Duma’s Committee for Physical Culture and Sport, said in an interview with TASS. "We must honestly admit that Capello is not our specialist and he can give nothing useful for our team. We must raise the question bluntly and get separated."
"First of all, we need start talking with Capello," Ananskikh said. "He is a well-known specialist, who achieved a great deal with other teams. However, the Russian team turned out not to be his element."
"What we need at the moment is to seek the ways of minimizing the compensation [of unilateral contract’s severance] and get separated as fast as we can," the lawmaker said. "Yesterday’s match was the last chance and everyone saw that we are not heading forward but are on the fast track backwards."
"We need to place our bets on the Russian coach. The national team’s roster is not strong enough. But we need to awake and shake up the boys so that they would show their best game doing their utmost. A Russian specialist is the only one to find proper words for them."
Before Sunday’s 0-1 qualifier defeat to Austria, the Russian national team started with 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein in September, had two 1-1 draws in October against Sweden and Moldova, lost to the Austrian side 0-1 in November, and received 3-0 technical victory in the forfeited qualifying match against Montenegro on March 27.
The Russian national squad experienced a string of setbacks since early 2000s 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.
Russia did not severe the contract with Capello after the Russian team’s weak 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.
Former President of the Russian Football Union (RFU) Nikolai Tolstykh, who was dismissed from his post in late May, told TASS earlier in the month that the extremely expensive contract with Capello was a burden for the country’s governing body of football.
"The RFU would have had a positive balance sheet if there had been no contract with Capello," Tolstykh said.
Russia’s daily Novaya Gazeta published in late April a copy of a contract inked by the RFU with Italian manager Capello in January of 2014.
In line with the document, which was signed until July 2018 and stipulated an annual salary of 7 million euros ($7.6 million) for the Italian coach, the RFU practically had no rights of severing the contract unilaterally without paying a penalty, while Capello was granted such opportunity.
Earlier media reports estimated the compensation for RFU’s unilateral severance of the contract with Capello at some $25 million.
Tolstykh, who headed the RFU between September of 2012 and May of 2015, announced last month that the debts of the Russian governing body of football totaled some 1.4 billion rubles (almost $27.4).