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Added September 16th, 2014 by Ian

Russia wants its World Cup team to play in domestic league

There’s been a lot of political pressure on Russia ever since the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down in a war zone over Ukraine earlier this summer. Many world leaders are asking FIFA to strip them of the 2018 World Cup which Russia is scheduled to host. Up to now, FIFA has ignored these requests, but it’s conceivable that Russia could lose the world’s biggest sporting event if the country involves itself in any further international turmoil.

As the World Cup hosts, Russia won’t have to qualify for the event, which is a relief to them since the nation’s football team hasn’t performed too well recently. They made the 2014 World Cup, their first appearance in the event since 2002, but managed just two points in three games and didn’t get out of the group stage. Also, the Russian Under-21 side was recently eliminated from the European Championships during the group stage. Russia wants to be prepared to take on the world’s best once the 2018 tournament kicks off. To do this, the Russian FA said it would like to take all of the national team players and place them on one team. This will enable them to play together prior to the event and gel as a team.

The Russian FA stated that it’s possible to do if they buy or rent all of the players a year before the World Cup and then enter the squad in the Russian league for a season. It makes some sense as the players would constantly be practicing and competing together, but it’s obviously easier said than done. Anatoily Vorobyev, the general secretary of the Russian Football Union, recently told the media that the only way Russia can compete with the best nations is through teamwork and this idea would give them the competitive edge the team needs.

Vorobyev went on to say that the team would play in the domestic league in the 2017/18 season and it would be made up of players who have been “leased” from their regular club teams. He added, “The club could take back a player sent to ‘Russia 2018’ for the winter off-season. It would also be possible to arrange for the club to get its player back for the spring campaign of the Champions League.”

While Vorobyev’s idea is in its infancy, it’s possible that some clubs would allow Russian players to leave for awhile, especially if there’s money involved in the transaction. In theory, the proposal makes quite a bit of sense, but it’s likely going to be hard for the Russians to pull off.

 
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