Russia Drops Football Federation

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The Russian Football Union has voted out Nikolai Tolstykh as president in the culmination of long-running tensions over how the game is run in the 2018 World Cup host nation. However he stepped down after losing a vote of confidence at the Russian Football Union (RFU) conference on Sunday (31/5).

The 59-year-old’s resignation was forced after a majority of 235 out of 449 Russian Football Union (RFU) delegates voted against him.196 delegates voted against his dismissal, 22 delegates abstained. 235 delegates voted for his dismissal. For quite a long term, critics have accused him of presiding over a shambolic regime.

“I thank you distinguished delegates for your opinion,” former Dynamo Moscow player and official Tolstykh said. “Naturally, I will comply with your decision. I wish you success in the implementation of your future football development plans. And thank you for our teamwork.”

Nikita Simonyan was appointed to the post of the acting President of the Russian Football Union. The 88-year-old man will take over as acting president until new elections are held. While the Russian sports minister, VitalyMutko, has been touted as a leading candidate to replace Tolstykh, which would see the Russian national team come under stronger government control ahead of the World Cup.

According to Simonyan, the priority of the Union is to find a solution to the financial problems. “Now we have to simultaneously solve all the issues of the financial plan and the business. We have a question of payment of coaches. Not only the main coach, but also others. And now we have 23 people,” Simonyan noted.

“There are problems and we don’t hide them,” Tolstykh said in televised comments, saying the financial problems dated from before his arrival and that he had improved the situation. “Today in the RFU we don’t have that irresponsible attitude to spending.”

Russia coach Fabio Capello, who has signed a new lucrative contract with RFU, which covers the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia, was also criticized for his team’s World Cup failure. Capello reportedly is the world’s highest paid coach with a salary of around seven million euros.

The RFU’s long-running financial difficulties led to Capello going unpaid for seven months until February. After the World Cup, he had not been paid for seven months and the RFU debt has reached the sum of 600 million Robles including the taxes. On the other hand, the national team has floundered on the pitch, exiting last year’s World Cup in the group stage.

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