Football on hold. What changes will there be in the RPL?

According to the results of the regular meeting of the clubs of the Russian Premier League, which took place on Tuesday, we can conclude that our football officials have finally started to face the truth. It is true that the clubs once again voted in favor of extending the league to 18 teams and the relegation moratorium, but yesterday the RFU executive committee, as expected, did not support these proposals. At the same time, all participants in the process recognize that the number of teams is not the main thing right now.

Football on hold.  What changes will there be in the RPL?  |  Photo: Pixabay / jarmoluk

Photo: Pixabay / jarmoluk

We have to see how the championship will end. How many teams will finish the game and play is the question. Not associated with the numbers 16 or 18, – explains the president of the championship Ashot Khachaturyants. – Many clubs in the middle of the table know exactly how many players will not return after international matches. Some may just not finish the season. We do not understand what the situation will be, what the logistics will be. The players of “Rostov” traveled by train for a day, complaining about painted legs. We solve other problems.

Well, in our football, at least they realized the seriousness of the situation – already not bad.

There is a lot of uncertainty, it will probably be hasty to make such serious decisions during the tournament, – says the general director of CSKA Roman Babaev. – I agree, if the national team and clubs do not participate in international competitions, there are many windows for matches. It could be a remake of the Cup, an extension of the league to 18 teams. But I am a supporter of decisions that are made in a balanced way, not on the knee. The best thing to do now is to discuss options.

It turns out that the expansion of the league and the moratorium of relegation are only hypothetical proposals and all decisions are scheduled to be made only at the end of the season. Therefore, neither the vote of the RPL clubs nor the decision of the RFU executive committee made real sense – everything can change later. This has its own logic: in the end, the underdogs will continue to fight for survival and the fights for them will not turn into friendlies, as would happen in the event of an immediate moratorium on relegation. The same goes for the FNL-1 teams leading the fight for promotion. On the other hand, in conditions of such uncertainty, it is not entirely clear who is fighting for what – there will be chaos in the tournaments.

But there is no other way now: decisions really have to be made in May-June, when there is at least some certainty. This also applies to a possible return to the spring-autumn system.

The spring-autumn system was discussed. Let’s think and make a decision. But other issues have priority. And the decision must be considered– says Ashot Khachaturyants.

What are the “priority” questions? First of all, about how the season will end. Clubs have problems not only with legionnaires and flights, but even with equipment (foreign companies are leaving). Therefore, at the RPL meeting, the issue of a single carrier and a single technical partner was discussed – it is easier for the league to solve organizational problems than for individual, especially small, clubs. But so far there are no results.

And the main question, of course, is the financial one. Our football remains deeply unprofitable, while state-owned companies and private investors will no longer have extra money. In this regard, Spartak Moscow’s proposals seem relevant, including easing the criteria for licensing clubs, as well as applying to the government for tax incentives and licenses to sell beer on stadiums.

In fact, all these measures have been discussed for a long time, but today is the ideal time to implement them. More specifically, not today, but yesterday – our football leaders have long been forced to file appeals for the same tax benefits. After all, the government is already in full swing developing measures to support the economy as a whole and the individual industries, whose representatives are actively involved in pushing for their interests. The football world, as usual, is lagging behind and in danger of being marginalized again. If tax breaks are given and clubs are allowed to make money from the same beer, they will become self-sufficient tomorrow. This is also part of the current economic strategy of the authorities with the maximum removal of barriers and the creation of a favorable business environment.

But the introduction of the Fan ID system does not fit this concept at all. At first a dubious idea now seems completely pointless. Clubs do not have enough money for salaries and flights, and are forced to introduce a verification system that no one needs, and even get into a tough fight with their own fans because of it. I would like to believe that logic will continue to prevail in this matter, but so far the RPL is talking cautiously about the readiness to introduce the system.

We are waiting for the government order for Fan ID. We expect statutes, after which the fate of the introduction of the FAN ID will be clear– says the Khachaturyants. – Both the financial and the technical are important. Deficiencies have been identified, a lot of money is needed to eliminate them. We want to apply for targeted funding.

I’m glad that at least the issue of the limit in the legionnaires is no longer discussed, although until recently the passions were rampant around him.

The issue of the limit is now, unfortunately, completely irrelevant. Do you see the situation?, – Khachaturyants explains sadly. – I can not leave the clubs in the current situation. I intend to work and spend this period with the clubs. But the motivation has dropped a lot, 80 percent of the idea is now irrelevant. This is due to the number of legionnaires, and more applicable to European football.

It is difficult to disagree. Even if the suspension of the national team and clubs is canceled soon, we will not return immediately to the previous level and we will be left behind for a long time. It is to be hoped that the period of isolation will bring not only disadvantages but also advantages, forcing, in the absence of other tasks, to carry out the necessary structural reforms.

The material was published in the newspaper “St. Petersburg Vedomosti” No. 52 (7135) on 24/03/2022 with the title “Football on hold”.

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