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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fetisov to Review Sporting Bodies

APSports Minister Vyacheslav Fetisov
Russia needs to ring the changes in its sporting ruling bodies to revive the country's sagging fortunes in the international arena, Sports Minister Vyacheslav Fetisov said Friday.

Veteran soccer chief Vyacheslav Koloskov was forced out last month after years of poor results and Fetisov said the heads of other sports federations, in particular under-achieving ice hockey and swimming, should also be shown the door.

"This [2005] is a key year for our sports," Fetisov, a former ice hockey defenseman whom Russian President Vladimir Putin invited to head the country's sports movement three years ago, told reporters. "We must restore order at all levels."

Russia, a sports superpower in Soviet days, has had less than impressive showings at major international competitions in recent years, finishing third in the gold medal count behind the United States and China at last year's Athens Olympics.

The Russians were also embroiled in huge doping scandals during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

Fetisov began the cleanup last year by ousting one of the most powerful figures in the Russian sports system.

Koloskov, 64, resigned last month as president of the Russian Football Union after more than 25 years in the job.

"People give him [Koloskov] credit for Russia's achievements," Fetisov said.

"But we haven't won anything worthwhile in soccer since 1988. I still remember how he was getting state awards for our success in ice hockey," he said of Koloskov, who also headed the country's ice hockey federation in the 1970s.

"I earned these medals with my blood, sweat and tears on the ice and he received his from our state leaders in the Kremlin," added Fetisov, who captained the Soviet Union to two Olympic and seven world titles in the 1970s and 80s before a successful career in the National Hockey League.

He said the time had come for other sports officials to follow the suit.

Fetisov, 46, has long been a fierce critic of Russian ice hockey chief Alexander Steblin and Gennady Alyoshin, president of the Russian Swimming Federation.

"Look at our recent achievements in hockey and swimming. We have none and the situation will only get worse if we leave things unchanged," he said. "It's time for Steblin and Alyoshin to stand up and be accountable."

Russian media reported Friday that Steblin would be the next federation head to step down.

"They already called up an emergency congress of the Russian hockey federation in March or early April to name Steblin's successor," a government source was quoted as saying.