Posted 26 декабря 2022,, 09:30

Published 26 декабря 2022,, 09:30

Modified 28 декабря 2022,, 00:01

Updated 28 декабря 2022,, 00:01

There will be no turning back! Experts are against the transition of Russian football to Asia

There will be no turning back! Experts are against the transition of Russian football to Asia

26 декабря 2022, 09:30
The Russian Football Union intends to withdraw from the European confederation and move to the Asian one, but football analysts cite many arguments against such a step.

Russian football, which has fallen into an extremely difficult situation due to Western sanctions, is trying to find a way out of it. The fact is that both our national team and the clubs have been virtually excommunicated from both European and world football: they will not only no longer be able to participate in international tournaments, but even play friendly matches with the leading national teams and clubs of the world. In order to somehow solve this problem, the head of the RFU, Alexander Dyukov, announced that a meeting of the RFU executive committee would be held on Tuesday, December 27 in the format of a videoconference. It will decide on the possible withdrawal from UEFA and the subsequent transition to the Asian Football Confederation.

It should be noted that these plans have caused an ambiguous reaction in the football community, since the level of the Asian Football Confederation is incomparably lower than the level of the European one – UEFA, and therefore the level of Russian football itself, which is already not distinguished by special achievements, will fall even lower. However, for example, the coach of the Russian national team, Valery Karpin, believes that it is still necessary to move to Asia, because at least the national team and the clubs will have some practice.

And Karpin is not the only one who thinks so. Former football player and coach of Spartak Moscow and the Russian national team Andrey Eshchenko said in an interview with SE that it is necessary to go to Asia and play international tournaments:

"We don't know what will happen next. If UEFA says they don't need us, what should we do? Wait? If there is an option to play in Asia, then why not? Sports should be out of politics, but if it so happened... We need to look for options in Asia."

Not everyone is waiting for Russia in Asia

But the former head coach of Spartak Andrey Chernyshov is not sure that everyone is waiting for Russia in Asia:


"One thing is still unclear to me in this situation — practically no one wants to play with us in Europe, right? But in the Asian Football Confederation, too, not all countries are friendly to us. Are the RFU sure that Australia, Japan and, for example, South Korea will want to play with us? And if they refuse, what will happen then? I have not seen the news that the AFC specifically stated that all their participating countries are waiting for us there..."

Former vice-president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) Valery Draganov does not radiate optimism either:

"The transition to the Asian Confederation causes me conflicting feelings in the sense of rationality and calculation," he quotes Draganova. — Firstly, are we sure that everyone in the AFC agrees that Russia should become a member of the association? There are also unfriendly countries there. We are moving away from international escalation and sanctions pressure in the AFC, but it is part of FIFA. Will they accept us? They are in the same position as UEFA in terms of politics. (...) The quality of Russian football with the transition to AFC is unlikely to rise, it is not easier to play in Asia, and we will not be pure favorites. Getting used to it quickly and becoming your own is not an easy thing".

The level of Asian football is appallingly low

The wife of the ex-president of Spartak Leonid Fedun, Zarema Salikhova, in an interview with SE, also categorically opposed such a transition and also for purely sporting reasons:


"There was a whole cycle devoted to Asian football at school, so I had to study and analyze the occupancy of stadiums, the specifics of the organization of commerce, the influence of cultural characteristics on the work of the media, Asian trends. I can say that even visually watching Chinese or Indian football is very difficult…

I had to pull myself together and force myself to watch. I think that in Russia, the transition to Asia will finish off the interest in football. And who will watch women's football when moving to Asia? Only the parents of football players and friends. (...)

Traditions are important for us as Russians. We know Maradona, that's why we support Messi. Everyone loves Zidane, so we are rooting for the whole of France. There are these threads of memory. Klopp, Mourinho, Guardiola. We hear the surname, and immediately a number of associations. Who's there? Coaches at the end of their careers or very young, gaining their first experience.

What do fans know about the Chinese league? Zenit fans will say that Hulk is the second most expensive transfer in China. The Spartans will remember Fernando's transfer. And the fans of other clubs?

As always, no one thought about the fans and did not explain correctly, did not pack a possible transition beautifully, except for "it's better to play than not to play." And you can tell a lot about the Asian League..."

And finally, the outstanding player and coach Oleg Romantsev said in an interview with SE: "I am categorically against the transition to Asia... The level of those who speak in the Asian Confederation does not imply development and movement forward. Going there can be not only a step back, but also a road to nowhere...".

If we leave Asia, they won't take us back to Europe

The most reasoned and detailed analysis of the situation was made by the famous sports columnist Igor Rabiner, publishing an Open letter to Dyukov.

In particular, it says:

"Dear Alexander Valeryevich!

The RFU Executive Committee, which you head, will have to make the most important decision in the long history of Russian football. You are standing at an intersection, on one side of which there is a high—speed European autobahn, even if it is temporarily closed for Russia, and on the other — the off-road of the eastern desert. No "fifty shades of grey" — just two opposites.

...if you decide to go from Europe to Asia, then, in my opinion, you will bury the football of our country and everything that you tried to build before. And no one will need either the Youth Football League you created or any other reforms. Because the natives of them have nowhere, no one and no reason to play with. And no one will want to watch this product.

We won't be able to go back (at least in the foreseeable future), even if we think so now. There have never been such precedents in history. Both UEFA and AFC respect themselves too much to consider such a transition of Russia as a temporary parking lot. Various sources from UEFA informally hint that the European Union does not want to lose Russia. But this does not mean that they are always ready to wait for us back, but that if we leave, there will be no way back! They won't forgive voluntary withdrawal there. And it would be insulting for the AFC to give us a break for a couple of years before we want to return to the "high society", even if it becomes possible by then.

Yesterday I received a letter from a famous football man who still works in Asia. Here 's what he wrote on condition of anonymity: "The whole Asian football is a solid mud. The "charge" of players, refereeing, rigging the results of draws, etc. Less junior tournaments. The level of the opponents is significantly lower. (...) It will be easy for you to move to Asia. It will be difficult to return to Europe. And even if you succeed in the end, you will lose time again when you return." (...)

I am sure that you, Alexander Valeryevich, can quickly conduct a much deeper study of the consequences of the transition to AFC than what my sources reported in a day and a half. But even my cursory study of the issue leads to the conclusion that the way to Asia is a button that can blow up Russian football, turn it into dust. Don't let this happen!"