Tolstykh elevated to top job at RFU
04 Sep 2012
Russian Football Union (RFU) vice-president Nikolai Tolstykh has assumed the presidency of the organisation after defeating Russian Premier League president Sergei Pryadkin in a vote on Monday.
Tolstykh, who also serves as executive director of the Russian Olympic Committee, gathered 148 votes to Pryadkin’s 124. He will succeed Sergei Fursenko, who resigned from the RFU presidency following Russia’s group stage exit at UEFA Euro 2012. “I would like to thank everyone for the trust shown in me to head the Russian Football Union – and it is a union – of people who love football and are faithful to it,” Tolstykh said in his acceptance speech. “It’s a huge responsibility, and I’ll do everything that depends on me…to help Russian football develop successfully.”
Pryadkin’s candidacy had been backed by the Premier League’s 16 clubs and RIA Novosti reports that his defeat will be seen as a victory for the Russian Sports Ministry. Russia’s Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, had publicly supported Tolstykh, who is believed to support greater government involvement in football with Mutko keen revamp the administration of the RFU.
The state news agency added that Pryadkin was viewed in some quarters as a controversial candidate, having last year being forced to defend himself against corruption allegations. Pryadkin’s support from the Premier League clubs had also raised concerns that he may place their concerns above those of the national team. Russian football authorities have recently been engaged in a debate over whether to abolish the rule which limits the number of foreign players that Premier League clubs can field.