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VLADIMIR, October 12. /TASS/. The Russian government will continue assisting the sports development in the country, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.
"The role of the government in the management of sports must not weaken at all costs, because it is impossible to do anything without the state support," Mutko said speaking at the "Russia - Country of Sports" international forum in the Russian city of Vladimir. "Those, who do not understand it (the role of the state) are making a big mistake."
"We are currently focusing on the development of mass sports and establishment of the regional training centers," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) said. "It must be the joint work with the (national sports) federations to raise the level of sports in Russia and I would be glad if the federations assumed greater responsibilities."
Official rankings of the national football teams provided monthly by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) are not significant for the Russian national team as it does not hold officially FIFA-sanctioned matches ahead of the 2018 World Cup, Mutko said.
The Russian national team is currently ranked in the 38th position of FIFA monthly rankings, but is expected to be dropped down to the 52nd place following the renewed standings lists of FIFA on October 20.
"We are not playing officially licensed matches and you all understand that we are playing friendlies," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), told journalists.
"The (2018) World Cup will be a decider for us and we must be really be concerned after this championship," he added.
"The place in the rating standings is very important. However, taking today’s conditions we must not take it very seriously," Mutko said on the eve of the Russian national team’s 3-4 defeat to Costa Rica on October 9.
The national teams around the globe are currently in the qualifying stage battling for the place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Russia as the host nation has been already guaranteed the birth in the world’s main quadrennial football event.