Spartak to part with Romantsev

FC Spartak Moskva coach Oleg Romantsev is to leave after a disappointing start to the season.

Three games left
Romantsev's departure after 14 years in charge was announced at a news conference today, although he will remain at the helm for Spartak's three remaining games before the mid-season break. The team are currently fourth from bottom in the table with three wins from 12 matches.

Chairman's decision
Earlier this week, club chairman Andrei Chervichenko hinted Romantsev would be relieved of his duties after criticism from the coach before Saturday's Russian Cup final, which Spartak won 1-0 against FC Rostov. "I am convinced that it is unethical to make such statements before the cup final," said Chervichenko.

Return possible
Speaking today, Chervichenko added: "Nobody is doubting Romantsev's professionalism. However, we believe he is emotionally overloaded and needs a rest - that resulted in the outburst before the cup final." He explained, however, that Romantsev could yet have a role at the club: "We are ready to employ him in any administrative position. We will meet again in the winter to discuss further proceedings."

Possible replacements
Regarding Romantsev's replacement, Chervichenko revealed that the club were looking to appoint a new coaching staff. This could include Georgi Yartsev, who led Spartak to a title in 1996, as vice-president, Andrei Chernyshov, Russia's Under-21 trainer, as head coach, and former Spartak star and current reserve-team coach Sergei Yuran as an assistant.

Experienced coach
Romantsev, 49, began as a coach with FC Krasnaya Presnya Moskva from 1984-87 before moving to FC Alania Vladikavkaz in 1988. He then joined Spartak in 1989, with 1996 being the only year when he did not have any coaching duties. He guided Spartak to one Soviet and eight Russian titles, and his side also won the Russian Cup on four occasions.

European success
He also took the team to the European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals in 1991/92, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals in 1992/93, and the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 1997/98. He coached the Russian national team at the 1996 UEFA European Championship and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.