VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia, January 30 (R-Sport) – Only a miracle could help former Russian football champion Alania Vladikavkaz survive crushing financial problems, regional governor Taymuraz Mamsurov told R-Sport on Thursday.
Caucasus side Alania, which won the 1995 Russian title, has been living off bank loans since its main sponsor, RusHydro, pulled funding following relegation from the Premier League last season.
Matters came to a head last month, when Alania failed to appear at an away game, saying it could not afford the airfare. Earlier this month, coach Vladimir Gazzaev said the regional government would clear seven-month salary debts to the players and club officials, but Mamsurov appeared to pour cold water on that idea.
“The situation is very difficult, there is almost no hope,” Mamsurov said. “The sponsor can’t finance the club in the required scale under the new economic conditions and we can’t allocate money from the republic's budget.”
The club lived off the regional government's dime in its home Republic of North Ossetia until 2012, when RusHydro stepped in.
Alania barely survived a previous financial collapse in 2006, when it was briefly expelled from professional football before reforming in the third tier.
Alania is based in the Caucasus region of North Ossetia and was the only non-Moscow team to win a Russian – as opposed to Soviet – title until Zenit St. Petersburg in 2007.
Mamsurov said the region would still be represented in professional football regardless of the outcome, but only in the Second Division South, the third level of the Russian football pyramid.
Elsewhere in the North Caucasus on Thursday, another troubled second-tier team, Spartak Nalchik, appeared set to escape financial collapse after its regional government granted it 61 million rubles ($1.76 million) to ensure it could finish the season.
Alania are second in the second tier at the winter break, 10 places ahead of Spartak.