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Putin signs law restricting number of foreign players in Russian team sports

July 01, 2015, 14:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Each sport would have its own limit for attracting legionnaires, according to the bill

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Alexei Nikolskiy/Presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed Wednesday the law on restricting the number of foreign players allowed to participate in winter and summer sports in Russia.

The document was published earlier today on the official portal of legal information. The draft law was approved by State Duma and Federation Council in June.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced last August that a bill regulating the number of foreign players competing in Russian sports clubs had been drafted and was ready to be submitted for voting with the Russian lawmakers.

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 likely to stipulate 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.

As news about the bill regulating the foreign players’ quota broke out in August, Ananskikh proposed at that time that "the number of legionnaires hitting the field from each football club can be reduced to five."

According to him, such insignificant quota reduction may be introduced for a "relatively short period of time, for instance, for two or three years."

"This would help young [Russian] footballers to gain experience necessary for competing at higher levels," Ananskikh said at that time.

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, however, when Italian phenomenon Fabio Capello took over the team as the head coach 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.

The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over four years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

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