Russia national team

Russian Football Union still can’t pay national team manager Fabio Capello

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The financial struggles of the Russian Football Union are apparent, as Russia national team manager Fabio Capello wasn’t paid any portion of his $11 million annual salary since June, per the Associated Press.

It was the goal of the RFU to pay off at least some of the Italian’s earnings in the past six months, but nothing has materialized.

RFU president Nikolai Tolstykh held meetings with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko searching for an answer to the problem. The use of government funds was not ruled out.

Tolstykh spoke of the situation yesterday.

“We will use any official source (of funds) which can help the RFU to fulfil its obligations to Capello,” he was quoted as saying by the R-Sport agency.

He added that talks will resume on Jan. 12, and being holiday time in Russia, the president said that it would be difficult to fulfill their monetary obligations to Capello by the end of 2014 as originally planned.

Supposedly, an issue with currency conversion (explained below) has swelled the complications of payment.

Through TodayOnline.com:

Capello’s unpaid wages have caused further problems for the RFU because of the recent collapse in value of the Russian currency.

The veteran coach’s contract is believed to be denominated in euros but paid in roubles according to the exchange rate at the time of payment. That means a missed monthly salary payment from July may now cost the RFU over 40 per cent more in rouble terms than if it had been paid on time. Capello has insisted the unpaid money is not a factor in Russia’s poor form, with just one win in its last eight competitive matches.

Capello’s contract runs through 2018, when Russia hosts the upcoming World Cup, and the former England manager hasn’t spoken out about his lack of wages since October.

Show me the rubles! Fabio Capello hasn’t been paid since June

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Fabio Capello makes a reported $11 million per year as the manager of Russia’s national team.

Based on the team’s recent run of form, that’s a hefty price tag considering the club couldn’t defeat a lowly Moldova side that is ranked 105th in the world.

While the Russian side has struggled, earning only one win in their last six competitive matches, Capello has not been paid by the Russian Football Union.

[ RELATED: Russia to form super-team? ]

The reason for the stop in payment is unknown. While the RFU has had financial troubles in the past, if Capello’s side was winning games, you can be sure he would be cashing checks.

The Italian manager, who had stints at top clubs such as Roma, Real Madrid, Juventus, and England’s national side, Capello was brought in to lead a revival of Russian football.

[ RELATED: Putin to spend $20 billion on 2018 World Cup ]

With Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018, the RFU designed a plan to revitalize the national team and make them a contender as the host nation in four years. However, Capello’s spell in Moscow has not gone as smoothly as planned.

After bowing out in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, politicians called for Capello to testify before parliament, calling him “a thief.” Even with the team’s poor performance and extreme criticism of the manager, Capello said he was committed to Russia through the 2018 World Cup.

Let’s just see how long Capello is committed if he continues to coach for free.

Russian, Ukrainian clubs kept separate by UEFA, Israeli sides can’t host matches

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After a UEFA emergency panel gathered on Thursday to discuss the current situation between Russia and the Ukraine, European soccer’s governing body has taken a drastic step to keep the two nations apart.

The panel also decided that no games will be hosted by Israeli sides in European competition, as the situation between Israel and Palestine intensifies.

For the upcoming season UEFA have decided to keep Ukrainian and Russian clubs from playing each other “until further notice” due to the unrest. The U.S. national team played Ukraine back in March in a friendly when the trouble first erupted and the match had to be switched then due to safety fears. The game was played in Cyprus.

According to UEFA, they had to make the ruling  “in light of the current political situation after the Russian and Ukrainian associations expressed concerns about safety and security.”

The ruling directly impacts the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw on July 18, as Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg and Ukrainian club Dnipro can not play each other.

With UEFA and soccer in general always keen to stay out of politics when necessary, it shows just how dire the situation has become between Russia and Ukraine for a drastic measure like this to be decided.

As for the situation in Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv had been due to host a qualifying game in the Champions League and Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League this month. They will now have to find a safe alternative venue to host their matches, as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus looks like a good bet.

Predictably, Fabio Capello takes Russia national team job

Fabio Capello
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In hindsight, we should have seen this coming. Fabio Capello was lured to England by a huge pay day, and Russia’s not scared to commit big money to a name coach (see Guus Hiddink). The fit’s too good, particularly since Russia may still have enough talent to make Brazil.

On Monday, the Russian Football Union announced the imminent signing of the former Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, and Juventus head coach. He takes over a team which, after a disappointing end to Euro 2012, must navigate a World Cup qualifying group that includes Portugal, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

Though Russia’s confirming the hire, the contract still has to be worked out. Capello has only agreed to take the job. Ink has yet to hit paper.

“I am happy,” Capello told the news agency ANSA. “[I]f contract negotiations go well as I believe they will, it will be a wonderful adventure, as Russia is a great country.”

A great country that provides him an avenue to another World Cup, and as UEFA groups go, Russia’s is on the easy side (particularly considering Portugal has had trouble winning its recent qualifying groups). The bigger challenges for Capello will be culture and roster. In England, he either didn’t try that hard to absorbs his players’ culture (including language) or he maintained an act for the press. In Russia, assimilation will also be an issue, particularly given a roster of players transitioning from their prime into the latter stages of their careers – players who are almost entirely based in (and have never left) the Russian leagues.

The only starter from Euro 2012 who will be under 30 by Brazil 2014 is Alan Dzagoev. Some egos may need to be coaxed as roles are redefined. Can Capello do that? And if not, is he the right person to identify and implement a whole new leadership structure?

Capello’s new players are the remnants of a golden generation in Russia, one that’s lost its luster. Brazil represents a final chance to convert on their promise, with the memories of Euro 2008 tarnished by 2012’s failure. If Capello seems a swing for the fences, it’s because the RFU needs a home run.

Shipped from abroad, Euro 2012: Looking forward from Group A after Day 9

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source: AP

Grading out Group A

The extent to which each team has met expectations.

Czech Republic, B: The 4-1 loss to Russia still stings, but coming into the tournament, the Czechs had one goal: Get out of group. They exceeded that by finishing first, but one goal victories against Greece and Poland hint there’s work to do.

Greece, B+: Like the Czechs, they only wanted to get out of group, but whereas the Czechs should be concerned with the little things, Greece has always thought bottom line. Did they advance? Given how they play, that’s all they need to worry about.

Russia, D+: Clearly, they failed to meet expectations. Most had them winning this group. Instead, they’re gone after nine days, yet another disappointment for a purportedly golden generation.

Poland, D: As disappointing as their final placing is how they came about it. They blew their opener against Greece after being up a goal and a man. Against the Czech Republic, they never played like a team that needed a win.

Crystal Ball: What Needs to Happen Next Round

Group B won’t be settled until Sunday, but Greece has to think they’re getting Germany on Friday. They’ll be without captain Giorgos Karagounis, who picked up an unfair yellow card in the second half against Russia.

The preparation will be the same, though. Greece will sit back, force Germany to break them down, and be ready to pounce on all of the favorites’ mistakes. Mats Hummels, Germany’s talented but at times erratic central defender, may offer Fernando Santos some hope, but against a German attack that offers more variety than anybody in the tournament, there’s plenty to worry about.

For the Czech Republic, it’s hard to think ahead when you can’t predict who you’ll play. That’s a good thing, because Michal Bilek’s team have their own problems to worry about.

In Saturday’s second half, they played better than they had at any point in the tournament, but they need to not only reincorporate midfielder Tomas Rosicky, they need to get more out of him. They also need to get something (anything) out of striker Milan Baros.

PST’s Euro 2012 “More Powerful” Rankings

Taking a long term look, toward teams’ title hopes.

1 (–). Germany
2 (–). Spain
3 (–). Italy
4 (+1). France
5 (+1). Croatia
6 (+1). Portugal
7 (+1). England
8 (NR). Czech Republic
Previously ranked: Russia (4)

… and PST’s Player of the Tournament Wunderlist

1. Andres Iniesta, Spain
2. Andrea Pirlo, Italy
3. Mario Gómez, Germany
4. Daniele de Rossi, Italy
5. Alan Dzagoev, Russia
6. Mesut Ozil, Germany
7. Fabio Coentrão, Portugal
8. Xavi Hernandez, Spain
9. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany
10. Sami Khedira, Germany

ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.