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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Deputy Calls for a Law to Boost Russian Soccer Team

A day after the end of the World Cup, Russia continued to fret about its national side's poor performance and the deputy head of the Duma's budget committee, Vladimir Draganov, called for a law to boost soccer.

Draganov, who is also vice president of the Russian Football Union, said the law would provide the money needed to keep the best players from going abroad and could help Russia do better in the 2004 European Championships. "We want to change the face of soccer," Draganov said at a news conference.

The law would help turn soccer into a well-funded industry by providing tax benefits to companies that invest in the sport, he said. One of the major initiatives of the law would be the creation of a sports fund that would attempt to keep Russia's brightest young players like Marat Izmailov and Dmitry Sychyov in Russia by paying them salaries on a par with those of Western teams.

Conceding that much of the money in Russian soccer comes from dubious sources, Draganov said the fund would be completely transparent so that there would be no repeat of the scandals surrounding funds such as the National Sports Fund in the early 1990s, where little of the billions of dollars earned went to sports activities.

Meanwhile, an Internet poll in the Sport-Express newspaper over the weekend showed that 80 percent favored the appointment of a foreign coach to the Russian team. The majority of the nearly 14,000 fans who voted plumped for former Italian player and coach Dino Zoff.

That may be a forlorn hope, with RFU president Vyacheslav Koloskov edging away from the idea of a foreign coach in a recent newspaper interview.