Arsenal shareholder gives Russia €5m to pay coach Capello's wages

Russian billionaire and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has given the country's football union 300m roubles (€5m) to cover wages owed to the national side's coach, Fabio Capello, whose future at the helm of the team will be discussed tomorrow, Russian business channel RBC reports.

Former England coach Capello signed on to train the Russian national side in 2012 and was handed a lucrative extension until 2018 last year. However, despite qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the Russian national team failed to get out of their group and have since gone on a disappointing run, winning only twice in 10 matches. Such a performance at the much-anticipated 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia, would be a deep disappointment.

Despite poor form the Russian Football Union (RFS) will owe Capello compensation of more than €20 million as well as any unpaid wages, according to Russia's state news agency Itar-Tass, if it decides to terminate his contract. According to RBC, the RFS will want to minimise losses as much as possible due to accumulating a total debt of up to 2 billion roubles (€33 million).

Now Arsenal FC shareholder, and one of Russia's richest men, Alisher Usmanov has given the RFS 300 million roubles (€5 million) after lending them 400 million (€6.6 million) in February in order to clear debts owed to Capello. The channel cites two sources from within the RFS and Usmanov himself.

According to RBC Usmanov is discussing a potential sponsorship of the RFS from one of his companies, possibly Russian telecoms giant, Megafon.

Although the sum given by Usmanov clears current debt with Capello, the RFS and the Russian Ministry of Sports are due to begin discussions about potentially sacking Capello altogether tomorrow, which could see them owe the Italian more than a year's worth of wages. According to one of the RFS sources quoted by RBC, however, the string of poor performances of the national team under Capello has strengthened Russia's case, should the dispute be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Nikita Simonyan, the retired player turned acting head of the RFS after its president Nikolai Tolstykh lost a vote of confidence in May, has played down speculation about the rift with Capello.

"Presently a decision has not been made yet," he said when Russian sports journalists reported that Cappello's sacking was imminent following Russia's loss to Austria in a Euro 2016 qualifier earlier this month. "Everything will be decided at the meeting on 24 June."

"If we part ways with Capello, it will be amicable," Simonyan added. "When our respected experts express themselves so critically of Capello it grates my ears"

Should a successor for Capello be needed at the helm of the Russian national side, the national press has tipped the coach of CSKA Moscow, Leonid Slutskiy, as a favourite for his experience in the Uefa Champions League. The Belarusian-born Krasnodarsk manager, Oleg Kononov, who has lifted the team to their highest position in the Russian premier league and Alexander Borodyuk who has served as interim coach for the national side are also in the fold.

Arsenal shareholder gives Russia €5m to pay coach Capello's wages |