Russian game left in the cold after calendar switch
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