(Reuters) – Russia will increase the limit on the number of foreign players who can be in the squads of Russian Premier League clubs next season, the head of the Russian Football Union said on Tuesday.
The move comes as Russia strives to retain and attract foreign players to its sports leagues as Russian sport is becoming increasingly isolated due to Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Alexander Dyukov, the head of the union, said a maximum of 13 foreign players could be included in Russian Premier League clubs’ squads and that up to eight of them could be on the pitch at one time starting next season.
This season a maximum of eight foreign players could be in any club’s squad and on the pitch at one time.
FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, barred Russia from international soccer in February for an indefinite period because of its military intervention Ukraine.
It also opened a temporary transfer window, which ends on June 30, for foreign players and coaches to suspend their contracts with Russian clubs.
In 2017, a year before Russia hosted the World Cup, President Vladimir Putin linked the presence of foreign players in Russia’s domestic soccer league to the men’s national teams’ poor performances, and stressed that more emphasis should be put on developing home-grown talent.
Some Russian soccer clubs have faced financial difficulties since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special military operation.”
Spartak Moscow said on Monday it was dismantling its second-tier team due to financial woes. The club also lost Nike as its kit sponsor because the team will not be participating in European club competition in the 2022-23 season.
UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, decided Russia would have no affiliated teams participating in its club competitions next season because of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Reuters)