Rus­sian game left in the cold after cal­en­dar switch

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Rus­sian Premier League has suf­fered from fall­ing at­ten­dances since chang­ing its cal­en­dar six years ago as freez­ing con­di­tions and a lack of in­door sta­di­ums make life un­com­fort­able for fans and play­ers. The win­ter break there­fore can­not come soon enough for a league which goes into hi­ber­na­tion for three months on Dec. 5 with tem­per­a­tures hav­ing plum­meted be­low zero.

There have been calls for a re­turn to the ‘spring-au­tumn’ sys­tem that was jet­ti­soned in 2010 from the cur­rent ‘au­tumn-spring’ ar­range­ment but not from Rus­sian Foot­ball Union (RFU) hon­orary pres­i­dent Vy­ach­eslav Koloskov.

“This would be laughed at around the world,” the for­mer RFU chief, who wants clubs’ in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties to be up­graded, said in a tele­phone interview.

“The new sys­tem is more pro­gres­sive than ‘spring-au­tumn’ as it is adapted to the Euro­pean and world stan­dards. How­ever, it does have its faults,” he told Reuters.

He added that the key to im­prov­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of the sport at the home of the 2018 World Cup hosts is to im­prove the in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially the pro­vi­sion of in­door fa­cil­i­ties.

“There should be only one de­ci­sion and that is to build the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture around the coun­try, es­pe­cially in the Urals and Siberia where the win­ters are par­tic­u­larly harsh.”

From 1992 un­til 2010, the Rus­sian cham­pi­onship had a ‘spring-au­tumn’ sys­tem, which started in March and fin­ished in Novem­ber. This cal­en­dar is tra­di­tion­ally used in coun­tries in the north of Europe like Swe­den and Nor­way, where win­ter starts early, and by Novem­ber pitches can be cov­ered in snow.

How­ever, for­mer RFU pres­i­dent Sergei Fursenko de­cided the coun­try would be bet­ter off mov­ing to an ‘au­tumn-spring’ sys­tem from 2012 after a tran­si­tional 18month sea­son in 2011/12 so the cam­paign could fin­ish in May.—Reuters

GUINGAMO: Guingamp’s play­ers warm up prior to the French L1 foot­ball match Guingamp against Nice yes­ter­day at the Roudourou sta­dium in Guingamp, west­ern of France. — AFP

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