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MOSCOW, September 4. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the quota limiting the number of foreign players in the national football is soft and needs to be tightened further, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday.
"I spoke with the president on September 1," Vitaly Mutko told journalists after the RFU Executive Committee’s session in Moscow on Friday.
‘He [President Putin] said that we introduced insufficient restrictions in football. We must be tougher," Mutko, who was unanimously elected the RFU president at the organization’s extraordinary session on Wednesday, said.
On July 14, Mutko signed a decree granting approval for the ‘6+5’ quota for foreigners allowed to play in Russian football clubs. Earlier that day, the RFU Committee voted to pass the new quota, which stipulated that not more than six foreign players per club be allowed playing simultaneously during the match time.
Before the current season the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) had been exploiting the ‘7+4’ formula, which meant that no more than seven foreign players could be simultaneously playing on the field during the league’s matches.
However, last December the RFU’s Executive Committee suggested 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 formula did not stipulate the number of foreigners allowed to be playing simultaneously in the field during the match time.
RFU decision on the 10+15 formula of foreign players in the national football drew sharp criticism from Mutko, who claimed that the intended quota was not only excessive but undermined the development of football in Russia as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on July 1 a bill regulating a number of foreign athletes allowed to participate in sports competitions in Russia.
The law 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 new law 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 is in particular attention regarding the football in Russia, which is set to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.