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MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. The decision on the future of Italian manager Fabio Capello in the Russian national football team has already been made, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.
"To tell you the truth, we have already made a certain decision," Mutko told a news conference. "But there is the presidium and the Executive Committee of the RFU [Russian Football Union]. I believe that in the nearest future one of these bodies will consider this issue in detail."
Following Russia’s 0-1 defeat to Austria in the 2016 Euro Cup qualifier in Moscow on Sunday, Mutko announced that the future of Capello at the helm of the national football team would be decided in the next few days.
"We realize that the situation is not simple," Mutko said. "There is much talk about some sort of compensation [for contract’s severance], but he [Capello] had never set the issue of money as a priority. We are already discussing this issue. But at the moment we took a pause."
"I like Capello and I do not favor the fact that each coach after leaving the national team is subjected to all sorts of criticism and humiliating assessments," Mutko, who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said. "This is a specialist of the highest level and he is a very decent man. He worked hard, but was subjected to such conditions. However, on the other hand, there was something missing, perhaps on the scale of spirit or sometimes it turns out that it was not your club."
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.
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 RFU President Nikolai Tolstykh, who was dismissed from his post in late May, told TASS last 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 ($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).