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Developing football in Russia

For over a century, Russian football has been making its mark on the global game, no less evident than when the country was chosen to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Saint Petersburg was also selected as one of the 11 cities to stage UEFA EURO 2020 matches.

Russia have had a recent resurgence on the international stage
Russia have had a recent resurgence on the international stage ©AFP

UEFA support

Source: UEFA Grassroots survey (2019)

UEFA’s HatTrick programme, which channels EURO funds into football development across Europe, has helped the FUR provide artificial pitches for communities across the country.

With UEFA backing, the FUR has built over 100 mini-pitches since 2017 to improve the infrastructure for grassroots football, raising the standard of facilities for its 83 regional associations. This means more schoolchildren and amateur clubs have access to high-quality playing surfaces in a country where harsh winter conditions mean playing on grass is often impossible.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Russia

Set up in 2015, the UEFA foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Football for children with Down’s syndrome

This project began in 2015, assisting the social integration of children with Down’s syndrome, as well as helping develop their physical and mental abilities, improve their emotional and psychological well-being, and teaching them teamworking skills.

From its origins in Moscow, the project has spread to 12 other major Russian cities, offering regular training sessions and friendly matches for hundreds of children, as well as the chance to visit and enjoy other sporting events.

Timeline

Association history

1912: The All-Russia Football Union (VFS) is founded on 6 January in St Petersburg, promptly joining FIFA on 30 June, prefacing Russia's participation in that year's Olympic soccer tournament.
1922: Football resumes following World War One and the 1917 revolution, as a team representing Moscow proceeds to win the inaugural USSR championship of 1923. However, because the old sides of the pre-war era disappeared, it takes until the 1930s for club football to be revived properly.
1936: First USSR club championship organised under the auspices of the governing body for all sport, the All-Union Supreme Council for Physical Culture.
1959: The Football Federation of the USSR (FFUSSR) is born as an independent body but is incorporated into the sports ministry five years later.
1963: Goalkeeping great Lev Yashin becomes the first goalkeeper to win the Ballon D'Or. Oleh Blokhin (1975) and Igor Belanov (1986) will follow in his footsteps in future.
1975: Ukrainian outfit FC Dynamo Kyiv land the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1975 to become the Soviets' first European club competition winners, repeating the feat in 1986.
1986: Georgia's FC Dinamo Tbilisi collect the Cup Winners' Cup.
1992: The FUR is formed in February, assuming the duties and functions of the former FFUSSR.
2005: PFC CSKA Moskva become Russia's first team to win a UEFA club final following the break-up of the USSR, completing a surprise win over Sporting Clube at the Portuguese club's Lisbon home.
2008: Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium is chosen to host the UEFA Champions League final. Two English teams go head to head, with Manchester United beating Chelsea on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The same year, Zenit lift the UEFA Cup in Manchester, beating Scotland's Rangers 2-0.

Lev Yashin, arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time
Lev Yashin, arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all timePopperfoto via Getty Images

National team competitions

1931: The national team's debut, against Turkish opposition, finally arrives after a long wait.
1956: The Soviets strike gold at the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, beating Yugoslavia in front of a crowd of more than 86,000.
1960: The USSR then become the first European champions, defeating Yugoslavia once more, 2-1 in the Paris final, thanks to Viktor Ponedelnik's winner in extra time.
1966: At the World Cup in England, the USSR finish fourth, losing out to West Germany in the semi-finals.
1988: The USSR reach the EURO '88 final, but are beaten by a Dutch masterclass in the final. Goalkeeper Rinat Dasaev is voted the best in the world in his position. Also this year, there is another Olympic gold in Seoul.
1992: The USSR qualifies for EURO '92, but the break-up of the Soviet Union means they play in Sweden as the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).
1994: Russia stands alone at the World Cup, and at EURO '96 two years later.
1997: Russia's women make their debut at the European Championships, qualifying for five of the next six final tournaments.
1999: The women reach the quarter-finals on their World Cup debut in the USA.
2008: Under the tutelage of Dutchman Guus Hiddink, Russia reach the semi-finals of EURO 2008.
2018: Russia hosts its first World Cup, which is won by France. The hosts reach the quarter-finals.

Alexander Dyukov
Alexander Dyukov©Mikhail Shapaev/Football Union of Russia

President

Alexander Dyukov

Nationality: Russian
Date of birth: 13 December 1967
Association president since: 2019 

Aleksandr Alaev
Aleksandr Alaev©RFS/Mikhail Shapaev

General secretary

Aleksandr Alaev

Nationality: Russian
Date of birth: 30 October 1979
Association general secretary since: 2016