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FIFA World Cup 2018: State funding weighs on Russian soccer

Russian Premier League runners-up five times since Fedun took over, Spartak finally became champions last year after a 16-year drought

Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber | Reuters  |  Moscow 

When soccer World Cup hosts Russia open the tournament on June 14 they will be fielding the team ranked lowest at the finals, three places behind their first opponents Saudi Arabia. There is no single explanation for what ails Russian soccer, but one of the origins of the woes of the national team may rest in a trait of Russia’s economy: Heavy state involvement. With a couple of notable exceptions, private investors have snubbed Russian soccer so most top-tier clubs are bankrolled by regional authorities and state-owned companies, leaving teams vulnerable to budget cuts and shifting ...

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First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 00:51 IST