Russia’s Ministry of Sport, Russian Football Union (RFS), German Football Association and Adidas Group signed a four-way cooperation agreement to stimulate development of children’s football in Russia. The announcement was made 31 July at the press-conference headlined by Russia’s Minister of Sport Vitali Mutko, RFS acting Chairman Nikita Simonyan, Helmut Sandrock , General Secretary of the German Football Association and Herbert Hainer, CEO of the Adidas Group.
Tangible results are expected no sooner than in ten years. However, the infrastructure created ahead of the World Cup 2018, along with governmental interest in football, will allow the country to nurture a greater number of talented footballers.
Russian football with a German experience
Lately, football in Russia is in the spotlight due to the country hosting the 2018 World Cup. The infrastructure required for hosting the tournament is being heavily invested in, and it will continue being used after the event.
German national team has been very successful in the last several years, and in 2014 it has won the World Cup. Thus it was decided to use German experience in training the next generation of football stars.
The German program kicked off in 2000, when the country was chosen to host the 2006 World Cup, but managed to fail in two major tournaments in a row – the 1998 World Cup France and 2000 Euro championship in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 14 years since the program’s inception the country won the World Cup, and a large number of leading footballers can be considered ‘products’ of the new system: Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos and Mario Götze.
New possibilities for Russia
Russia’s Minister of Sports Vitali Mutko believes that this program may be used to bring up new footballers for the Russian national team: “The system must create 200 footballers for professional football, 25 players for the national team. We spend around two billion rubles annually on developing youth football; in the last few years we’ve built around 300 fields for academies, opened 10 arenas in various cities,” the spokesman said.
Helmut Sandrock , General Secretary of the German Football Association and Herbert Hainer, CEO of the Adidas Group, believe that Russian football has a lot of potential. Sandrock said: “10 to 15 years ago Germany was far from football domination. We didn’t have a unified concept, our championship was average. We can draw parallels with Russia. You have everything to go in our footsteps.” Hainer noted that “Russian football may well climb into the top 10 leaders of the football world thanks to this program, but it’s important to be patient,” adding “Don’t blindly copy our program. Russia has enough power to find its own course, based on the foundation of our football system. Primarily it’s necessary to improve trainer qualifications – this is the key to success.”