Is Russian football doomed to hyper-centralization and defeat? – OpEd – Eurasia Review


Countries like the UK and Germany that have strong regional teams do better in international competitions than those like Russia that don’t, as highlighted by the recent loss of the Russian national team in the World Cup. Euro-2020 competition and its low ranking among the best teams. of the world, says Vadim Shtepa.

But unfortunately, many Russians do not yet see the connection between hyper-centralization and defeat and the alternative between decentralization and victory in sports or other aspects of life, although there are many examples of the latter. to show them the error of their ways (

Great Britain has four regional teams, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although only the top three have qualified to compete in European competition; but Russia, although much larger than the UK, does not have a Siberian team or many other regions, although it did have one ten years ago.

The reason UK have so many teams is because they had these teams before FIFA was established and insisted they continue to be allowed to have them after this event. No one wanted to lose the top teams on such technicality and so the British were allowed to keep four teams instead of having just one national.

“Only at the Olympics, and not even at all, were the four British commands brought together into one team,” continues Shtepa, a role model that footballers from other countries like Russia can only envy not only for. what he says about sports but also about political systems.

“Football, like other sports, is still linked to politics. For Britain with its longstanding policy of decentralization… the existence of the Four Commandments seems quite natural. But for Russia, which “evolves more and more towards absolute centralism” and in which the federation is more and more “nominal”, it seems quite the opposite.

If Russia were a different place, a Siberian team could be formed and participate. That Siberia is not in Europe is not a problem. After Brexit, neither will the UK, at least in some ways. But Siberian football is going through tough times, as are teams from all regions beyond the Moscow ring road.

The “Siberian” team in Novosibirsk was a powerhouse 15 years ago, but like many things in the regions, it has declined over the past decade; and in 2019 it was declared bankrupt and ceased to exist. The money and the players went to the Moscow teams. But money is not enough to ensure victory.

After all, the coach of the Russian team is paid twice as much as the coach of the Belgian team, and the Russian team lost while the Belgian team won.

“In the first division of Russian football, there is no command of the Siberian cities, and the North-West is represented exclusively by Zenith” whose advertisement suggests that it is not so much a unit of St. Petersburg than a Gazprom team. The Russian teams would do better if there were more teams from the regions.

They would likely score higher than the 38e place that the Russian national team occupies now, and it could even gain in the future.


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