Relegation-threatened Russian club offers ticket refund if they lose

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Russian Premier League club FC Ufa has gone to extraordinary lengths to motivate its players ahead of a critical match against Dynamo Moscow in league play.

The club announced it will not only refund all tickets should the team lose on Sunday, but they will also extend free tickets to the next match for those who attended Sunday’s game.

Ufa sits 14th in the 16-team table, just one point above 15th-placed Anzhi Makhachkala and one back of 13th-placed Krylya Sovetov. In the 16-team league, the bottom two teams are automatically relegated and the teams in places 13 and 14 are sent to a four-team relegation playoff that includes the two from the first tier and also two teams vying for promotion from the second tier.

The game is massive given that Dynamo Moscow sits in 12th, the final guaranteed safe position in the table. They hold 20 points through 17 matches so far, three points above the precarious relegation playoff positions and four above Ufa.

“In case of unsuccessful outcome of the match with Dynamo, we will return the money spent on a ticket, and give a ticket for the next match,” said club president Shamil Gazizov. “This suggests that the players are confident in their abilities. We will try our best to please our 8-9 thousand fans [in attendance].”

Ufa qualified for European play last season with a 6th place finish in the table, but they were eliminated from the Europa League in the qualifying stages by Celtic. They suffered a five-match losing streak through August and September, but have recovered since, slowly climbing the table with just two losses since late September, although they’ve drawn six of their 10 matches in that span.