TAIF and RFU: “Today we have joined forces for the development of Russian football”
TAIF has officially become a partner of the Russian Football Union
The third meeting of the board of trustees of the Russian Football Union, held on 18 December in Moscow, culminated in signing of two documents at once — a memorandum and an agreement between TAIF PSC (parent company of TAIF Group) and the RFU. Since that day, TAIF and the RFU have announced a long-term joint effort in the development and promotion of domestic football. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
RFU Board of Trustees: results of the year in two halves
The third meeting of the Board of Trustees of the RFU (Russian Football Union) took place in the heart of the capital, a kilometre from the Moscow Kremlin, on 18 December. It took exactly an hour and a half, or two football halves, to discuss all the issues on the agenda: summing up the work in 2019, agreeing on the budget for the next year and determining the range of tasks to be undertaken in the new season. The football community of the country will be guided by the decisions made the whole next year.
One of the striking results of the meeting is the conclusion of a long-term partnership agreement between the RFU and TAIF, which received the status of ‘Official Partner of the Russian Football Union for Football Development in Regions’ and new powers in the development of Russian football. The solemn signing was held in the presence of all the eminent members of the RFU, gathered from different regions of the country. The document was signed by Chairperson of the Union Alexander Dyukov on behalf of the RFU and by Adviser to the Director General Timur Shigabutdinov on behalf of TAIF PSC.
“We are pleased to conclude a partnership agreement with TAIF PSC,” commented Alexander Dyukov, the president of the RFU. “This company has been successfully engaged in the development of sports, including football, traditions in Tatarstan for many years. I am sure that our partnership will be mutually beneficial and will help to popularize football in Tatarstan and other regions of Russia further.”
The board of trustees of the union was established 9 months ago. The initiators of its formation were Alexander Dyukov, newly elected Chairperson of the RFU (Chairperson of the board, Director General of Gazprom Neft PJSC), and Leonid Mikhelson (Chairperson of the board of Novatek PJSC), elected Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Union.
The purpose of the formation of this structure, as it was stated at the first meeting in July 2019, was “to create conditions for establishing a dialogue with federal and regional authorities in order to support professional, youth and mass football and to attract private investment in Russian football”. It includes those who care about the present and future of Russian football and those who are able to influence the situation, having financial instruments for this, and the opportunity to build a dialogue with authorities at various levels. In September, at the second meeting of the RFU Board of Trustees, Timur Shigabutdinov, Advisor to the Director General of the parent company of TAIF Group, President of Neftekhimik FC, joined the Board on behalf of TAIF PSC.
About 3m people are involved in football in Russia, but they lack fields and coaches
Strategically, TAIF has been chosen as an official partner for a reason. For many years, the support of mass amateur and professional sports has been an important component of the social policy of TAIF Group. TAIF group's investments in the development of amateur and professional sports have amounted to more than 38 billion rubles. Special attention has been paid to football as the most popular sport, which is confirmed by statistics. In August last year, shortly after the end of the World Cup, some matches of which were held on the fields of Tatarstan, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets cited data: in Russia, almost 3 million of our compatriots are engaged in football.
However, in domestic football, not everything is as smooth as it might seem. For example, there are still far more people willing to engage in this sport than existing venues can accept, and far fewer than in more modest European countries in terms of population and area. There is a shortage of coaches. And despite that Russia, according to FIFA, has entered the top five countries with the largest number of professional clubs in the world this year, the country is still experiencing a serious lack of attention and support.
Recognizing the popularity of football and understanding the need to support it, the management of the group of companies decided to take part in the development of this sport not only in Tatarstan but also in the country. The first step has been the signing of a memorandum between TAIF PSC (the parent company of TAIF Group) and the RFU on the readiness of the parties to jointly create opportunities for the development of all segments of domestic football — from children's and youth schools and amateur teams to professional clubs and teams.
“Today we unite our efforts for mutually beneficial partnership,” Timur Shigabutdinov said. “Football as a sport is close to us in spirit — it is a team game where the result of the whole team depends on the speed and coherence of the players' actions. The cooperation with the RFU will help to make this work more systematic and will open up new opportunities for physical development to millions of people.”
RFU and TAIF thinking about creating training centres for football players
TAIF immediately confirmed readiness for active joint work. Another document signed on the same day was the agreement drawn up within the framework of the memorandum. The memorandum was signed by Timur Shigabutdinov and Secretary General of the RFU Alexander Alaev. And if the memorandum is more of a framework nature, then the contract, the validity of which is one year so far, already regulates the rights and obligations of the parties in the planned large-scale work.
Among the issues discussed: cooperation with the RFU in projects on the organization and implementation of special projects related to regional teams, as well as Russian stages of amateur competitions. Сooperation considers the possibility of building new facilities and putting the existing infrastructure in order. The idea of creating football training centres in the regions of Russia and Tatarstan is being worked out. There are plans to hold on the territory of Tatarstan (perhaps in Kazan or at the stadium under construction in Nizhnekamsk) the finals of one of the Russian youth football tournaments, which can be made a good tradition by defining a single time and place for the annual competitions. Special attention will be focused on the development of youth football. Here Tatarstan is ready to become a pilot region in Russia for the adoption and testing of new technologies to promote mass sports.
“Youth football is one of the main tasks that we set ourselves together with the RFU,” Timur Shigabutdinov said. “Our goal is to make football not a dream but a reality for Russian boys, to improve the quality of training of athletes and coaches, to apply the right training methods. We have to raise our champions, our worthy sports team. I am absolutely sure that football is the sport of the future, so together we must raise it to a qualitatively new level.”
TAIF intends to continue to support sports and athletes in the native republic by joining in support of sports at the federal level. This work will certainly be continued in no smaller volumes than before.
Realnoe Vremya will follow the development of the project and will tell about the measures taken to develop Russian football in the next publications.