Lebedev backs lifting international players cap

29 August 2012 12:18

Igor Lebedev, one of the candidates for the post of the Russian Football Union (RFU) chief, believes lifting the limit on overseas players in the Russian league will boost the development of the game in the country.

Lebedev, who is also the head of the Liberal Democratic Party's group in the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma, said he believed that the limit was holding back the rise of fresh domestic football talent.

"Many Russian footballers had stopped their progress as they know that they are guaranteed a place in their clubs' starting line-ups because of this limit," Lebedev said.

"It transforms our football from a game of professional players into a game of passports."

The existing limit allows Russian Premier League clubs to field up to seven foreign players for any of the league's encounters.

"I cannot agree with those who predict that the lifting of the limit will attract mediocre foreign footballers into the Russian championship," Lebedev added.

"There're plenty of skilled Russian football players who are playing pretty well, while their price is much lower than the price of their foreign colleagues," he said.

"Nothing prevents our clubs from purchasing mediocre foreigners right now. However, Anzhi have bought Samuel Eto'o, while Zenit are currently in the hunt for Hulk."

The new RFU president will be elected on September 3 at an extraordinary RFU conference.

The post became vacant after Russia's first round exit from Euro 2012 forced the resignation of previous RFU boss Sergei Fursenko.

Source: AFP