Russia relaxes foreign player quotaJuly 5th, 2012 - 5:38 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, July 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian football Premier League clubs will be able to field seven foreign players at any one time from next season onward, a slight relaxation from the current limit of six, the Russian FA announced Wednesday.
There had been mounting pressure on league authorities to soften the quota to allow clubs to become more competitive.
“I think it’s a logical decision. This is the position of clubs. We need them to win, we need their competition,” the Russian Football Union’s vice-president Sergei Kapkov said.
The same seven-player quota was in force from 2005 to 2009, when it was tightened to six. That was done to prevent the inevitable wave of cheap foreign imports from squeezing the Russian players out, theoretically hurting the chances of the national team.
Leading clubs including CSKA Moscow, who have a well-developed scouting network abroad, particularly in Latin America, and league champions Zenit St. Petersburg were among the chief advocates of a more liberal quota.
City rivals Spartak, headed by the owner Leonid Fedun and general director Valery Karpin, had been fiercely defending the six-foreigner limit due to the club’s inability to compete financially with their rivals and attract top signings from abroad.
Fedun had last month proposed allowing each club to employ a maximum of eight foreign players over the entire season, with the remaining 17 squad places set aside for Russians only.
He would permit clubs to field all eight foreigners at any one time should they see fit, but claims the overwhelming competition from local players meant this would rarely be the case.
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