Russia has a new President of their FA as Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was unanimously elected to lead the Russian Football Union (RFU). His term will last for a year whereas an election will be held for a four year term according to Reuters.
The RFU has seen some setbacks over the past year as Russia’s economy has gotten worse and worse due to the devaluing of the Russian Ruble. The Ruble has been devalued so much that the U.S. Dollar has doubled its value in comparison to the Ruble since the FIFA World Cup last year. Because of this, there have been reports of former Russia manager Fabio Capello not getting paid, the 2018 World Cup budget being drastically slashed and World Cup stadium construction being delayed.
Mutko spoke after getting elected and did not mince words at the dire economic situation the RFU is facing. Mutko said, “The most important thing is to pay off the debts that the RFU owes and they are huge. I don’t want to dramatise the situation, but we are basically on the edge of going bankrupt.”
This is pretty serious, not just for the Russian FA or with FIFA but the country of Russia in itself. Their economy is spiraling out of control and they are pumping billions to host the World Cup in three years. If their economy keeps getting worse and worse, could Russia physically be able to host the World Cup? It happened to Colombia for the 1986 World Cup as that tournament went to Mexico. The difference is that Mexico had three years to plan the tournament. We’re at three years and counting now and even if a country like the United States is able to host, it’s getting to be a little too late for the U.S. to host. There’s no indication that the World Cup will not be in Russia in 2018 and I’m not saying that it will not be or there is even a chance that it would. It’s just that if something does happen to prevent Russia from hosting, even the United States may not be able to take over. This could be a pretty tense three years ahead.
NOTE: According to XE.com, the value of the Russian Ruble in comparison to a U.S. Dollar is currently 66.97 Rubles = 1 Dollar as of September 2. During the World Cup (June 26, 2014) the Ruble was at a low of 33.67 Rubles = 1 Dollar