Zenit could play in CIS League
Zenit St. Petersburg are mulling their withdrawal from the Russian Premier League to create a regional competition involving teams from across the former Soviet Union, the CEO of team sponsor Gazprom said.
The Russian champions are furious with the FA's decision to hand them a 0-3 technical defeat after last week's match with Dynamo Moscow was abandoned when Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin was injured by a flare thrown from the crowd.
While they appeal the decision, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller has given his considerable backing to the club's general director Maxim Mitrofanov, who first threatened to pull the team out of the league over the affair last week.
"The answer is positive," he said in comments to Zenit's website when asked whether the threat was serious.
"Maybe we will play in a different championship," Miller said Saturday.
The idea of a league involving teams from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was first raised years ago but Miller said the flare controversy had resurrected it as a serious alternative.
"Very, very many people think that we could play in a CIS championship and I am also a firm supporter of this idea," Miller added.
"If the time comes to create this new league, we will act and take well thought-through steps, coming to an agreement with those people who support the aim of creating the championship."
Zenit were also fined and ordered to play two home games behind closed doors. Dynamo were hit with a fine too and told to play one game without spectators.
Police have arrested a female fan they suspect of throwing the smoke bomb that injured Shunin.
The Russian government is trying to push through legislation that would toughen sanctions for football hooligans.