Kremlin backs CIS League
The Kremlin has put its considerable weight behind a proposed new football league made up of clubs from across the former Soviet Union.
Both the Russian Premier League and Zenit St. Petersburg have in recent days backed the idea of a championship spanning the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
But the public support of the Kremlin gives the proposal, which essentially foresees a return to the old Soviet Top League, added momentum.
"Such a championship, where the best clubs of three to five CIS countries would play, would be by definition a stronger and more exciting league than any national championship," said Sergei Ivanov, the head of president Vladimir Putin's administration.
"Exactly the same thing has happened in hockey and basketball," said Ivanov, referring to the recently formed VTB United basketball league, where he is president, and the KHL hockey league.
Ivanov said he had discussed the CIS championship plan with club bosses a year ago but back then it was "an idea and no more than that."
He added he was skeptical that football's governing bodies UEFA and FIFA would welcome the plan immediately. But he aded: "This must be done, because this is professional sport, and I don't agree with people who consider football a social phenomenon. This is a business, and that's how you should approach it."
Russian Premier League chief Sergei Pryadkin earlier Friday called the idea "correct" and "interesting," adding that the league will look into creating the competition after the appeals of several leading clubs.