The Russian FA has decided that starting in June, Russian Premier League clubs that hire a foreign coach will have to pay a tax of $158,200. And yes, this decision comes from the same Russian FA that appointed Italian Fabio Capello to replace Dutchman Dick Advocaat as the national team manager last July.
"Starting from June 1, any Premier League club whose head coach is not a Russian citizen must pay a one-time fee of five million roubles ($158,200). First division clubs will pay 2.5 million roubles," the RFU said in a statement on its website (www.rfs.ru).
The rule also applies to coaches who have dual citizenship and the money will go to support youth soccer in Russia, the RFU said.
RFU chief Nikolai Tolstykh said Mikhail Gershkovich, who heads the Russian coaches' union, was behind the idea.
"He feels we must support our own people," Tolstykh said.
Nine of the league's 16 managers are foreign born, which shows why Russian coaches are so upset. This isn't the first time this season that nationalism has come to a head in Russian football, though. Back in December, a Zenit supporters group demanded that the club exclude black and gay players from the squad to "maintain the national identity of the club." Zenit's Italian manager, Luciano Spalletti, made it clear that this wasn't going to happen.
Before that, Zenit captain Igor Denisov was punished for publicly complaining that foreign players on the team were making far more money than their Russian counterparts. These are just a few of the xenophobic growing pains of the cash-infused Russian Premier League.