Russian Premier League Boss Awakens Feud With Claim RFS Is Nearly Bankrupt
An old feud between Russia's main football organizations, the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) and the Russian Football Union (RFS), rekindled this week as the RFPL head said RFS is on the verge of bankruptcy. RFS would not comment on its financial state. "RFS is on the verge of full bankruptcy and its heads are doing nothing to improve the situation," Sergei Pryadkin, the head of RFPL, which runs the Russian league's top tier's competition, told newspaper Sport Express. "Moreover, the organization's general secretary Anatoly Vorobyov is explaining everything by some kind of 'economic blockade.'" Pryadkin also wondered where $2M per season raised by RFS from fines slapped on the squads and another $6.7M in TV rights go.
HINTS OF TROUBLE: Igor Vladimirov, head of RFS' information policy department, told SBD Global, "We won't respond to these accusations." However, he declined to comment on the organization's finances. Meanwhile, RFS is widely believed to have had financial problems since its sponsor contract with the natural gas giant Gazprom expired in late '12 and was not renewed. The arrival of smaller sponsors, such as the country's second largest gas producer, Novatek, and Chinese telecom company Huawei, has apparently failed to completely compensate for the loss of the Gazprom deal. Relations between RFPL and RFS have been strained since Nikolai Tolstykh was elected the latter organization's president in 2012. Incidentally, Pryadkin worked at RFS for several years and held the No. 2 position of general director before moving to the RFPL.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.