MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) has no plans changing the existing quota on the number of foreigners, often referred to in Russia as ‘legionnaires,’ playing for the country’s football clubs, RFU President Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Monday.
Mutko signed on July 14, 2015 a decree granting approval for the ‘6+5’ quota for foreigners allowed to play in Russian football clubs. The formula of ‘6+5’ stipulates that not more than six foreign players per club be allowed playing simultaneously during the match time. According to earlier in the month media reports, a formula of "5 foreigners + 6 Russian nationals" would be allegedly introduced starting with 2016-2017 season.
"We have a comprehensive concept [on the legionnaires limit for 2016-2017 season]," Mutko, who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the Russian Minister of Sports, said in an interview with TASS. "Nothing will be in a week."
"I do understand very clearly that the limit [on legionnaires] is not a remedy or a tool for Russian players to emerge," he said. "We should not be fooling anyone as the current rivalry does not work as well. We are repeatedly told ‘Let the Russian players enter the competition.’ But the competition against whom? If one has money, then one would always find a better prepared player."
The issue of legionnaires in Russian football is in particular attention as the country is preparing to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and aims at showing decent results at the global football championship. Reduction of foreign players in Russian clubs is believed by country’s football authorities to help better prepare national footballers for the upcoming global tournament.
"We have defined the limit to cement five Russian footballers [on field per club]," Mutko said. "Perhaps we will be not getting to this issue in the nearest future. We will channel all our resources into the system of [footballers’] training to form a market of our players."
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on July 1, 2015 a bill regulating a number of foreign athletes allowed to participate in sports competitions in Russia.
The law envisaged provisions granting the Russian Sports Ministry the right of establishing and coordinating the limit of foreign athletes allowed competing for Russia and who were also referred to as ‘legionnaires.’ Each sport envisages its own limit for attracting legionnaires, according to the law.
The 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.