UEFA “interested” by CIS League proposal

07 Dec 2012

European football’s governing body is open to the prospect of a new league uniting clubs from across the former Soviet Union, with a UEFA official claiming that it could act to drive additional revenue into the region’s game.

The idea of a ‘CIS League’ was first proposed by Zenit St. Petersburg’s main sponsor Gazprom last month and has since received heavyweight backing from the Russian government, the Russian Premier League and CSKA Moscow and Rubin Kazan. The idea would essentially see a return to the old Soviet Top League, which ran from 1936 to 1991. Government officials believe there is scope for a new competition modelled on the likes of ice hockey’s Kontinental Hockey League and basketball’s VTB United League.

The proposal would rest on the backing of both UEFA and FIFA. “The idea is interesting,” the UEFA official told Russian news agency RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity. “It needs to be worked through, the format should be decided upon.” The source said UEFA president Michel Platini is “open to innovative ideas,” adding: “It’s possible to have a dialogue with him, and if he sees that all countries are ready to organise such a competition, then why not?”

The UEFA official added: “Only in this way can you attract money into Russian football and support financial fair play, which at the moment is impossible to achieve.”