Russian national football team of millionaires 

Russian national football team of millionaires
Russain National Team at the Euro-16 Photo: Alexander Safonov/Chempionat

Everybody criticized the performance of the Russian national football recently. The anger of fans is primarily caused by openly dismissive behavior of the players after the bad games. Secondarily - the Russians asked the question – why these players receive fortunes if they can’t decently represent the country at the championship? During previous tournaments the team had the most highly paid coaches, this time – it’s player’s turn. Experts point out that not only the players and the coach are responsible for the result. There is a system to blame, which allows wages to grow and sport to suffer. The "Criminal Russia" tried to gather information about why this is happening.

Football is a big business. Primarily based on the show. And only then there is sport with its performance, achievements and results. The football market in Russia is "over-heated" with money. It is appropriate to remember the catch phrase by Anatoly Chubais (not about football, but about his corporation): " There are too many of them." In other words, the players are paid more than their real value is on the "world market" of football. That is why foreign players dream to get into the Russian Premier League. Europeans can play at the same level, but for significantly less money. But in Russia, limits were set on the football "migrant workers." There is no competition. The players from the first division are paid more than the players of the average European league, even though they play at the same level. That is why Russian players do not go abroad to play.

Choosing between ambition and money, the players choose the latter. While the first is debatable. To be a star in Russia or an average player in Europe? Andrei Arshavin is the vivid example of how you can warm the bench in European club, Arsenal in his case.

To be on the podium there, you need to work harder, raise your level, reach out and win.


The strongest player determines overall level of the Russian team. There is no one who will play better than the strongest. Why? If you already have everything. Money, fame, model chicks, cars…

Only the perspective of playing once every 2 years at the World and European Championships darkens the holiday.  But they can put up with it – all they need to do is come out during a national anthem, spend some time on the field and then go on vacation.  Of the 23 players not all returned to Russia after Euro 2016. Many went to beautiful beaches and the closest European resorts right after the game against Wales. After all, even Andrei Arshavin said: "The fact that we did not meet your expectations - is not our problem. It's your problems". Igor Akinfeev, the only team member who came up to the sidelines and thanked the audience for their support, Leonid Slutsky took responsibility. Others either kept silent or, as Pavel Mamaev, said "hello" to the fans from the board of a private jet.

He decided not to respond to the comments he asked for. But his wife did - Alana Mamaeva. The fans showered on her all their claims, as she was the only source of feedback from the national team. The girl tried as much as possible to answer to everyone, but eventually got a mental breakdown.


There is no transparent information about compensation benefits of the national football team. There are bonuses that are promised for concrete results, but they’re still unknown. The head of the Ministry of Sports, who is also the head of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, only voiced that the reward would be possible if the team qualifies from the subgroup. Therefore, rewards of athletes are unknown, budget expenses for the team – too. RBC has estimated, for example, that the price for 15 nights at the hotel for 46 people (23 players and 23 people from administrative stuff), is around € 215.3 thousands - 15.5 mln rubles. UEFA is going to pay RFU 8.5 mln euros for the participation at the 2016 European Championship in France. Interestingly enough, that the game of Russian team is called “performance”.  

In general, the Football Association as a state structure did not disclose its financial performance, it only sometimes makes statements like: "We don’t have any money."    

The amounts in contracts are usually not disclosed, but the information leaks.

Let’s look at the players who contributed to the game in June. These are the 17 people who have spent at least a few minutes on the field.

Alexander Kokorin (Zenit). Contract - 5 million euros. 256 minutes spent on the field during Euro 2016. Artem Dzuba (Zenit). Contract – 3,6 million euros. 270 minutes spent field on the field during Euro 2016. Roman Shirokov (Spartak). Contract – 2,7 million euros. 81 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Aleksandr Samedov (Lokomotiv). Contract – 5 million euros. 21 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Oleg Shatov (Zenit). Contract – 2,5 million euros. 180 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Igor Akinfeev (CSKA). Contract – 2,5 million euros. 270 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Igor Smolnikov (Zenit). Contract – 2,2 million euros. 270 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak). Contract – 2 million euros. 90 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Sergey Ignashevich (CSKA). Contract – 2 million euros. 270 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Aleksey and Vasiliy Beresutsy (CSKA). Contracts – 1,9 million euros for each. 45 and 226 minutes spent on the field during Euro 2016.Denis Glushakov (Spartak). Contract – 1,8 million euros. 146 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar). Contract – 1,8 million euros. 245 minutes on the field during Euro 2016.Павел Мамаев («Краснодар»). Контракт - 1,6 млн евро. На ЧЕ-2016 на поле провел 141 мин.Roman Noyshtedter (Shalke). Contract – 0,9 million euros. 126 minutes spent on the field during Euro 2016.Aleksandr Glolovin(CSKA). Contract – 0,9 million euros. 162 minutes spent on the field during Euro 2016. Georgy Shennikov (CSKA). Contract – 0,9 million euros. 180 minutes spent on the field during Euro 2016.
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For long time there were talks about setting a money cap for contracts in Russia. But it is not profitable for the players, their agents and the clubs.

In addition to formal contracts players receive bonuses, gifts in the form of cars, apartments, social packages, food, clothing and other sponsorship. Athletes quickly got used to such luxurious life. It makes no sense to change something at this level.

But athletic career in football is not very long. Agents take promising boys under the wing at the age of 18 years. By 25-30 years everything comes to an end. But they still need to take care of the rest of their lives. That’s why players are trying to invest their millions in business. Not always profitable.

Kerzhakov in 2011 was offered to invest money in an oil refinery, but by 2013 the fraudsters had stolen about 330 million rubles from his bank account.

As for Berezutsky brothers, everything they do turns out to be successful. They are listed as owners and co-owners of companies "Premier Football Group" (sportswear shops), LLC "GomerM" (leasing of property), "National Legal Service" (OOO "NUS") (legal services). Ignashevich makes a profit from "Friedrich" (leasing of real estate, restaurants, cafes and bars) and LLC "Beliveau" (leasing of real estate). Alexander Samedov is the co-owner of LLC "Siren" (restaurant business) and OOO "Terminal-Odintsovo" (real estate and land). Dmitri Kombarov is involved in LLC "Project Alpha" (dismantling and demolition of buildings). Akinfeev’s money are invested in sports – he’s the co-owner of Moscow football club "Stars."

The system

Where does the money come from? The club pays the salary, the country pays for the games within the national team, royalties from the advertising, interviews, and other paid activities are paid by the market. Clubs are selling the rights to broadcast matches, attributes, tickets to the stadium. Banks, corporations, airlines, private investors and local authorities sponsor seven of the “first” football clubs in Russia.

Why do they do that? Any sports expert will say - advertising ... and money laundering. But this situation is not unique to Russia. Founder of the Football Leaks, known as John, in an interview with Spiegel described the modern football as "a heaven for corruption and money laundering." It was said primarily about the European clubs, but in Russia the situation is probably not better. We may recall the recent detention of a football agent and the owner of the club "Leiria", Alexander Tolstikov. He was arrested on May 4th by the police with accusations in money laundering, organizing a criminal group and tax crimes, along with the assistant, Sergei Renitsey and Managing Director, Pedro Violante. Nobody will be surprised if corruption cases are initiated during preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

By 2018, the situation in Russia will not change. Football "show business" is going to heat the interest of fans to the team even more on a wave of patriotism and a national pride. Another substitution of coach, even more expensive contracts, and, most likely, the update of players, will bring the same result. It’s gonna be even more hurtful, as tournaments will be held at our “house”. Let’s leave the question "what to do?" to the sport experts . In the meantime, we have a system that suits everybody and will not change.



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