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Russians to see revamped national football team in September — minister

July 06, 19:16 UTC+3 KALININGRAD
The team will be made of players who will be proud playing for their country on the international arena
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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

KALININGRAD, July 6. /TASS/. Russian football fans will see in September a revamped national squad made up of players who will be proud playing for their country on the international arena, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.

"I think that in September we will see a renovated [football] team," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said. "Let a new guy have a class lower [in game skills] but he must be having enormous desire playing for his country and we have a lot of such guys."

"I have asked the clubs to take a closer look at the behavior of their players," Mutko said. "The clubs are already taking actions in this regard."

"I believe that in the nearest future we will hold talks with the clubs in order to make people, who earn money by playing football, not to spoil the image of this marvelous sport," the top Russian sports official added.

Mutko’s statement comes in the wake of an incident involving two players from the national squad, Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin, who allegedly spent 250,000 euros on champagne partying in Monaco following their weak performance at the 2016 Euro Cup.

Life.ru news portal reported on Tuesday that Kokorin and Mamaev were partying at Twiga club and ordered some 500 bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne costing 500 euros each.

Life.ru quoted an eyewitness as saying that champagne was served while the Russian national anthem was playing and the party was accompanied with a fireworks display.

"It is impossible to change everything in an instant," Mutko said speaking about the reformation of the national football team. "In order to progress we first of all need to leave behind this result [of 2016 Euro Cup] and define the new level of our football."

"Indeed, we have unmotivated players and have players, who have no desire playing for the national team - so make them not play," Mutko said. "The most important task for today is to find a new head coach and select guys, who have the desire playing for the national squad."

The incident with Kokorin and Mamaev received a public outcry particularly after the national team’s poor performance at the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France last month.

Last month the Russian national team lost to Wales 0-3 in its third group stage match of the 2016 Euro and failed to qualify to the next round of Last 16.

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