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Russian Football Union

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Russian Football Union
Short nameRFS
Founded19 January 1912; 112 years ago (1912-01-19)
Headquarters7 Narodnaya Street, Moscow
FIFA affiliation1912[1]
UEFA affiliation1954 (as Football Section of the USSR)
PresidentAleksandr Dyukov

The Russian Football Union (Russian: Российский Футбольный Союз, Rossiyskiy Futbolnyy Soyuz or RFS) is the official governing body of association football in the Russian Federation.[2] With headquarters in Moscow, it organizes Russian amateur and professional football, including the men's, women's, youth, beach soccer, futsal and Paralympic national teams. The RFS sanctions referees and football tournaments for the Russian Premier League and other football leagues in Russia.[3] RFS is headed by Aleksandr Dyukov, the CEO of Gazprom Neft.[citation needed]


The RFS is governed by a board of directors led by a chairman, Nikita Simonyan, and a director general, Aleksandr Alayev. The RFU is a member of international football bodies FIFA and UEFA, and also has a relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


Russian Empire[edit]

The All-Russian Football Union (VFS) was created on 19 January 1912 and in the same year was admitted to FIFA. The Unions initially consisted of 52 organizations across the Russian Empire. All-Russian Football Union was the organizer of Russian Empire national football team.[citation needed]

Soviet Union[edit]

In 1934, the Football Federation of USSR was formed initially under the name the Football Section of Soviet Union. Its organization was in accordance with the Declaration of the All-Union Council of Fitness Culture of USSR on 27 December 1934. The Section was admitted to FIFA as the Soviet organization in 1946, and admitted to UEFA in 1954. Later the Section was reorganized as the Football Federation of USSR. Concurrently with the Section and later Federation until 1972 there operated the Football Directorate of the Soviet Sport Committee which was subordinated directly to the Soviet Ministry of Sport. The Directorate was never recognized on the international level.[citation needed]

Russian Federation[edit]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, on 9 January 1992 there was formed the All-Russian Association of Football (VAF)[4] based on the RSFSR Federation of Football and headed by Anzor Kavazashvili.[5] The VAF conference consisted of 173 delegates from the whole Russian Federation, out of which 172 voted for Kavazashvili, while Kavazashvili abstained from voting himself. The president of the former Soviet federation Koloskov decided to create a parallel organization the Russian Football Union, even though the All-Russian Association of Football (VAF) was acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation as the only governing body of association football in the country.[5]

At the same time Vyacheslav Koloskov who was appointed a president of the Commonwealth of Independent States associations of football federations (descendent of the Soviet Union Football Federation) tried to resolve an issue of conducting the 1992 football championship by negotiating with the Muscovite clubs.[5]

On 31 January 1992 the president of the "supposedly still existing" RSFSR Football Federation Yuri Nyrkov announced about scheduling a conference on 8 February 1992.[6]

On 8 February 1992 at the RSFSR Football Federation conference was created the modern Russian Football Union and Vyacheslav Koloskov was elected the president. At the conference, the Russian Football Union was declared a descendant of both the RSFSR Football Federation as well as the Football Federation of the Soviet Union. Using political connections, Koloskov managed to influence governing bodies of the Russian Federation and the UEFA to reconsider recognition of the All-Russian Association of Football and instead recognize his organization. The newly formed Russian Football Union eventually inherited everything from the previous associations such as the VFS and Football Federation of USSR and reinstated in FIFA on 3 July 1992. In July 1992, the Russian national football team was formed.[citation needed]

Russian invasion of Ukraine[edit]

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or clubs, until further notice.[7][8]

After the invasion of Ukraine, Adidas suspended its long-term kit partnership with the Russian Football Union, which first began in 2008.[9] Adidas had provided all Russian teams with kits and had expanded the federation's replica kit sales in the retail market.[9]

During the ban, talk circulated that the RFU were considering seeking to change confederations to the Asian Football Confederation, according to Match-TV broacaster Dmitry Pirog, stating, "I think the time has come to think seriously about a switch to the Asian football confederation."[10] However, Vyacheslav Koloskov opposed the idea, noting that it would "bring the death of Russian football and also we would never return to the European family."[10] In any event, the switch would have to be ratified by other Asian federations. RFU president Alexander Dyukov ruled out the idea of switching to Asian football and stated that the RFU is part of UEFA and will always be so.[11] In late November 2022, Dyukov said, at an executive board meeting on behalf of TASS, that the possibility of a switch of the association to the AFC might be considered.[12] On 29 December 2022, it was reported that the RFU would hold a meeting the next day to discuss resigning from UEFA, so as to join the AFC.[13] On 30 December, following the meeting, Dyukov stated: "We are indeed considering the option of returning to UEFA competitions as soon as possible", "It is important for us to take part in the World Cup qualifiers".[14] On December 20, 2023, Russian Football Union executive committee voted against the move to Asian Football Confederation.[15]

In October 2023, FIFA and UEFA lifted the ban on both U-17 teams, allowing them to return to competitions. This was met with opposition from Ukraine and some other UEFA members. England, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Romania announced that they would not play any Russian U-17 team. UEFA later axed the plan.


President Vladimir Putin speaking on the centenary of the Russian Football Union

Chairmen of the Football Directorate of the RSFSR Sports Committee (1934 – 1972)[edit]

Chairmen of RSFSR Football Federation (1959-1991)[edit]

All-Russian Association of Football[edit]

Russian Football Union (1992-)[edit]


  1. ^ Football Union of Russia. FIFA.
  2. ^ Dunmore, Tom (16 September 2011). Historical Dictionary of Soccer. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810871885. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ WSC 283 Sep 10. "When Saturday Comes - Academy Awards". Retrieved 14 January 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ От Колоскова до Мутко. www.sportsdaily.ru. 23 September 2016
  5. ^ a b c Союз против Ассоциации. Как создавался чемпионат России по футболу после распада СССР. tass.ru. 14 December 2021
  6. ^ Ты помнишь, как всё начиналось?... www.championat.com. 11 March 2008
  7. ^ "FIFA/UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions". www.fifa.com.
  8. ^ "Russia's plan to leave UEFA and join the Asian Confederation". MARCA. 29 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Adidas pack their bags in Russia and drop RFU deal". 2 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Russian soccer ponders UEFA switch to Asia". The Examiner. 4 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Russia's football clubs and national team considering switching from Europe's UEFA to play in Asia". 29 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Russian Football Union looking at transferring to Asian Football Confederation". Trend.Az. 27 November 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  13. ^ "Sources: Russia considers UEFA exit, AFC move". ESPN.com. 29 December 2022. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Russian Football Union Votes to Remain in UEFA Despite Ongoing Ban". The Moscow Times. 30 December 2022.
  15. ^ "The RFU Executive Committee voted against joining the Asian Football Confederation". TASS (in Russian). 20 December 2023. Archived from the original on 20 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.

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