How can Russian football change due to international isolation: Fan ID, beer return, limit – opinion

We already see the general outline of the future: Russian clubs are going through European competitions in the short term, the national team is not playing official matches and foreign players are gradually leaving to places where the European currency is still available. The country has already been deprived of the Champions League final, Spartak’s matches in the Europa League, so we are now in official isolation. It is important to accept this (even if the procedure is temporary) and to use aggressive methods to use the situation in a positive way.

Alexander Dukov

Photo: Dmitry Golubovic, Championship

What is the use of RPL?

Of course, you can score in everything. And leave as it is. Now football is definitely not the first issue on the agenda. After all, even a few of the League bosses will answer the question: why is the RPL being held at all now?

In developed countries they play for the fans. We have a different story. Reservations, strange coronavirus restrictions, match rescheduling – in Russia, only two clubs really treat spectators as customers. And they believe that they owe it to them and not the other way around. First of all, you do not really want to go to some stadiums. For example, if you live in Ufa conditionally. It is not a matter of safety, it is just dark in summer and cold in winter, the spectacle on the field is like that and in fact eternal searches (and soon there will be a Fan ID). So there is no desire to see this either on TV or live.

England was also eliminated from the European Championship.  What led to it
England was also eliminated from the European Championship. What led to it

The feeling that RPL was done for two things. The first is the Olympic Games, where we never made it. In the minds of the first persons of the state, football is exclusively an international tournament, where it is necessary to adequately represent the country. But qualifying for the Olympics is almost impossible. Now, with the banning of all federations, this task is automatically removed. The second goal was announced by people of a more moderate level – the leaders of the top clubs and some top directors of the RFU: we need a result at club level – at least in the European spring. Two images of work were constantly in conflict: and the main issue was the limit. The former believed that only the absence of legionnaires would give the results of the national team, the latter understood for sure: the presence of foreigners would lead Zenit or someone else to the playoffs of the Champions League. Now there is nothing. Neither the Olympic Games, nor the European Cups. Let’s start again.

What issues need to be addressed?

In this context, the passivity of leadership is surprising. Neither RFU nor RPL have made any statements about the future. That is, the country is trying to understand how IT people will live, how food prices will rise, there are some statements on these issues. But no one knows what will happen to football. But now is the best time to close all the bureaucratic issues and make football the most attractive spectacle (or just a way out) for people.

Issues to be resolved:

1. What about the limit? A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Sports was preparing a document for 13 legionnaires on the application and 8 on the field. The issue has now been postponed. Clubs bypass it even in internal meetings. However, in connection with the departure of the legionnaires from Krasnodar and Rostov without clear conditions for their return, the question arises – does it make sense to maintain at least some restrictions?

2. What about Fan ID? Another issue that collapsed after a storm of discussions. One thing is clear – to introduce restrictions at a time when people do not really think about football anyway – is very strange. It makes a lot more sense to do everything to repel the attraction of the followers to this law to the maximum. After all, even according to preliminary estimates of the administration, the top will lose about 50% of the public due to the abrupt introduction of “passports”.

Krasnodar is already winning with its own.  What young people will play with Spartak?
Krasnodar is already winning with its own. What young people will play with Spartak?

3. Will there be a reduction in ticket prices? A more effective way to attract football fans has not yet been invented. In many areas, Rospotrebnadzor has removed or removed all coronavirus restrictions, so this is reflected in sports. This means that very soon all the stadiums will be ready to ensure 100% fullness. And this is a great opportunity for endless offers and discounts to attract fans to the stands.

4. Will the beer return? Another motivation to come to the stadium. Now only non-alcoholic are available, but even that is not for everyone. And the law itself has been sent for endless revisions for several years. But now we need a firm position on this issue: beer is money, which rich clubs certainly have less due to the lack of European installments. And you have to get them out somewhere. Advertising and selling beer on the field will also not cause global harm to the nation’s health. But clubs will make good money.

5. Will there be private investors? We all know that they are few. And football is the last thing they see as an opportunity to make money. However, state-owned companies are reducing their interest in financing non-core assets every year. Russian Railways recently announced total savings. And it is not yet known whether this will affect Lokomotiv.

Photo: Dmitry Golubovic, Championship

People around the world were looking for different ways to make football a business. It is clear that investors themselves need incentives to invest money. And this is the work of the RFU and the state. Now, obviously, the emphasis is on the internal development of businesses. And football must become part of that process.

While the clubs focus on something else and vote for a moratorium on relegation (we immediately turn off the sports authority). Another important issue is expansion (increasing the likelihood of another bankruptcy and reducing the quality of football in the League). This, of course, is interesting, but the feeling is that none of these points will change the attitude towards football in the country. And now the bosses have a lot of time to influence it. If it does not work, no one will judge. But at least he tried.

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