Russian football is "facing more controversy that could cause huge embarrassment" for the World Cup host, according to Matt Law of the London TELEGRAPH. One of Russia’s biggest clubs, Rubin Kazan, is "gripped by a financial crisis" that has seen it fail to pay its players for the past four months. And with the final game of the Russian season this weekend, "virtually the entire squad are threatening to rip up their contracts and walk out of the club in January." It is estimated that Kazan owes its players more than £10M ($13.3M) in unpaid wages and the squad was told again on Wednesday that "there is no money to pay any of them." Rubin is owned by Tatar-American Investments & Finance, and President Radik Shaimiev is listed as the 88th-richest man in Russia. Rubin General Dir Rustam Sayakhov was unavailable for comment. Kazan is one of the host cities for next summer's World Cup, where games will be played at Rubin's Kazan Arena, which was opened in '13 (TELEGRAPH, 12/6).
'AIR OF TENSION': In London, Chris Bascombe reported Liverpool's Champions League match with Spartak Moscow had "an extra air of tension" after Liverpool accused the Russian side of racism "for a second time this season." A formal complaint "revolves around" a meeting of the clubs in the UEFA Youth League, with striker Rhian Brewster alleging he was the "subject of racist abuse from Spartak players." Earlier this season, Spartak's fans were found guilty of racially abusing a Liverpool youth player (TELEGRAPH, 12/6).