A Season of Three Halves… and God Knows How Many CutsBy: Ivan | February 7th, 2011
Russian football is ready to switch from old ’spring-autumn’ system to common European schedule, where play starts in August and finishes in May. The transitional season will consist of 30 head-to-head gameweeks with 16 teams followed by separation into two groups of 8 teams each. Group A will define a winner and Champions League/Europa League delegates; group B will host relegation battle. Most of the decisive games will be played by spring 2012, so for the first time in its history, Russian Premier League will crown the champion in May, just before Euro 2012.
2011-12 season formula seems established now, but the real deal lies within the subject of transfers. Don’t let them fool you, Russian football is still more about money than business. Russian clubs can buy good players but they could be up to their necks in debt at the same time. One of the most popular reasons for the financial mess is ‘cut’, a form of bribe from the club or player to agent who makes a deal. Obviously, a longer season (of 3 parts) means more transfer windows – which means more deals, thus cuts – and that’s the part Russian football is going to love.
There seems to be only one problem – FIFA doesn’t allow more than one transfer window during the season, but as it’s transitional, Russian Football Union is keeping hope to help FIFA change their mind. There is one good way to do it, and it always works here.