MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti)
CSKA Moscow president Evgeny Giner has ridiculed supporters of a limit on foreign players in Russian football, saying that they should drive Soviet-made Lada cars in an interview with R-Sport on Friday.
The Russian Football Union relaxed the limit earlier this month, meaning that Premier League teams will now be allowed to field seven foreigners at any given time, one more than they had been allowed.
The move angered Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who branded the loosening of the rules “irresponsible” and said it could squeeze local talent out of the game, while threatening to pass a law enforcing a tougher quota.
Giner, whose CSKA team is one of Russian football’s powerhouses, has long called for the limit to be abolished altogether and suggested those against the new decision were backward-thinking.
“I can’t ensure that those who are against switch to using Zhigulis [as Lada cars were named in the Soviet Union], put away their foreign mobile phones,” he said.
Opponents “bought Armani, traveled by Mercedes and used foreign phones and then told us that we don’t need [foreign players] and it’s all fine,” he said.
Former CSKA and Russia coach Valery Gazzaev told R-Sport earlier this month that he supported the relaxed limit, saying that restrictions made the competition “artificial”.
Few of the world’s major football countries employ a strict Russian-style limit on foreign players, although similar systems operate in Ukraine and Turkey, and both Spain and Italy have restrictions on players from outside the European Union.
Mutko introduced the Russian limit in 2005 while head of the Russian Football Union, initially allowing seven foreigners on the pitch, which he tightened to six in 2009.
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