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Putin Calls For Reform Of Russian Football Clubs

President Vladimir Putin called for reforms in Russian football at a meeting of his sports council on December 8.

"People in Russia love football," he said. "The problems are in the game's system of administration, the system of selection of young players, the methods and forms of interaction with coaches and players."

"It's obvious that a clear-cut program of actions is needed," Putin said. "I propose to work out a nationwide strategy until 2030."

The president called for radical changes in the financing system for football clubs.

"Sometimes the contest between football clubs looks like a battle of wallets," he said. "Many of the clubs get funding from the regional budgets. They waste the money assigned for sports development...

"Meanwhile, around the world, football clubs make a lot of money by selling the broadcasting rights, advertising, the club symbols, and other things.

"I ask the Sports Ministry to work out their concrete proposals" for reforming the system, he said.

One club president suggested more money could be raised by organizing gambling and selling beer at stadiums.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS

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