Lawmaker blasts Russian football giants for appointing Brit to key role
Russian State Duma Deputy Roman Teryushkov has taken aim at football team Spartak Moscow for hiring a British sporting director, claiming it is a “strange” decision in the circumstances of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Spartak unveiled Paul Ashworth as their new sporting director on Monday, having been strongly linked with the Englishman in recent weeks.
Ashworth, 52, already has experience of Russian football after fulfilling the same role at FC Rostov back in 2005.
But the appointment does not sit well with Duma Deputy Teryushkov, who is part of the board at Spartak’s Russian Premier League rivals Khimki.
“As a Duma deputy and fan of Khimki, I can say that this is an internal matter for the club itself,” Teryushkov told RB-Sport.
“But I consider it unacceptable to invite a foreign specialist when we have a sufficient number of Russian specialists and managers in Russia, and in the conditions of a special military operation to spend money on their maintenance.
“The club is commercial, private and, apparently, has its own position on development and sees the invitation of an English specialist as some kind of lifeline for itself.
“For me, to be honest, it’s a strange decision when the club invites foreign specialists to manage and coach positions. There are a sufficient number of high-quality specialists in Russia who can manage sports facilities well,” Teryushkov added.
Spartak already have a foreign manager in the form of Spaniard Guille Abascal.
Elsewhere, cross-city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow have a coaching team led by Germany’s Josef Zinnbauer.
Welcoming Ashworth to his new position, Spartak said that “in addition to extensive professional experience, an excellent knowledge of the Russian language played an important role” in his appointment.
Ashworth’s arrival comes amid broader changes at Spartak – who are Russia’s most successful ever domestic club.
Energy giants Lukoil acquired full control over the club in August, leading to the departure of longtime president Leonid Fedun.
Lukoil vice-president Aleksandr Matytsin has since been appointed as the head of the board of directors.
Duma Deputy Teryushkov has been outspoken with his views throughout Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
Notably, the politician suggested that any Russian athletes who switch citizenship to avoid the sporting bans imposed on their country should be considered guilty of treason.
The Kremlin later indicated it would not be on board with such a step.