Experienced sports administrator and former footballer Nikolai Tolstykh has been elected as the new president of the Russian Football Union (RFS). He takes the helm after Sergei Fursenko stepped down in June.
Mr Tolstykh, chief executive of the Russian Olympic Committee, spoke of his wish to further develop the game in his country, with a particular focus on the grassroots and the regions.
"I am happy that my programme has won the approval of the Russian football community," he said. "We should discuss now with all the regional RFS departments a programme for the further development of football in Russia. I am confident that Russia's football development can be advanced by the nurturing of children's and youth football in the regions."
Another key item on the agenda for the 56-year-old will be the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia was named as host nation for this tournament in December 2010, and Mr Tolstykh said of the organisational challenge ahead: "Russia has been given the right to stage the World Cup in 2018 – and our aim is to make this event a huge football festival."
After serving FC Dinamo Moskva as a midfielder between 1974 and 1983, the former player forged a new administrative career at the Moscow club, including roles as general director and president.
He then worked as president of the Russian Professional League between 1992 and 2000, combining that position with responsibilities within the RFS, including as vice-president and executive committee member. Mr Tolstykh leaves the Russian Olympic set-up to assume his new post.
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