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    Russian League Eyes CIS Championship

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    The Russian Premier League is looking at setting up a pan-CIS football league after several clubs expressed an interest, RPL chief Sergei Pryadkin said Friday.

    MOSCOW, November 30 (R-Sport) - The Russian Premier League is looking at setting up a pan-CIS football league after several clubs expressed an interest, RPL chief Sergei Pryadkin said Friday.

    The idea of a league uniting teams from former Soviet states is nothing new, but it was resurrected as a serious alternative to the RPL last week, when Zenit St. Petersburg threatened to withdraw from the RPL over what it saw as unfair treatment from the Russian FA.

    "I was approached by a number of leading clubs from the Russian championship to consider and work up a proposal for the creation of a CIS football championship," Pryadkin said on the RPL website.

    "I consider the idea to be a good and interesting one. The RPL will deal with this issue."

    It was unclear whether the new league would replace the RPL, or whether they would exist in parallel.

    A CIS championship would, in essence, mark a return to the old Soviet Top League in all but name. That competition involved teams from most of the 15 former Soviet republics and folded in 1991 with the Soviet collapse.

    The RPL and the Russian FA have been at odds over several issues in recent months, and the split widened when Pryadkin lost out to Nikolai Tolstykh in FA presidential elections in September, despite having the backing of all 16 top-flight clubs.

    Tolstykh sent out a strong message that the national team takes precedence over club football on his second day in office, setting up a meeting with the senior squad.

    Pryadkin vowed to dispense with the foreigner quotas for the league teams had he become president, potentially making them more competitive in Europe.

     

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