Russian sport has third minister. Now from university sport

Oleg Matytsin is a great friend of Tatarstan. About which he has said more than once

Russian sport has third minister. Now from university sport

Oleg Matytsin has become the new third minister of sports of Russia who until recently has headed the International University Sports Federation (FISU). From now on, the sports industry will be led by the former tennis player, ex-rector of the Sports Academy and the carrier of “revolutionary” ideas in the field of transforming international student sport. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Matytsin played table tennis

A week ago, former Sports Minister of Russia Pavel Kolobkov shared information that Tatarstan had become the first region he had visited that year and impressions: “Coming to Kazan, I feel more than just at home — truly at home.” As much as two news slides were dedicated to this event on the website of the Russian ministry of sports, which also informed that Kolobkov held a meeting in Kazan on the organization of the first Games of the CIS Countries. And this is all that Pavel Anatolyevich managed to leave in the information space of 2020 since the third news concerns his resignation. Unlike colleagues in the previous government of the Russian Federation, Lavrov and Shoygu, Manturov and Novak, there was no place for Kolobkov in the government of Mikhail Mishustin. And Oleg Matytsin has become the new, third minister of sports of Russia (the first was Vitaly Mutko).

In relation to Oleg Vasilyevich, the little-informative page in Wikipedia says that he was engaged in table tennis and even became a prize-winner of the USSR championship in 1984, this has already been rewritten by some colleagues from the federal media. And this is inaccurate information since there are archival results of the USSR Championships up to 1987. And in none of the disciplines, Matytsin's last name is mentioned among the winners. But his love for table tennis is not a secret, the author of these lines did an exclusive interview with the future minister in the building of the Kazan Palace of Sports, where he came as an honourary guest for the European championship among students. It was with the help of Matytsin that Kazan became the host of table tennis competitions in those years. This includes the 2007 UEFA Super Cup (not without the lobbying opportunities of Igor Levitin, the former president of the Russian Table Tennis Federation), the fourth European Universities Table Tennis Championship among in 2010, and the European Junior Championships in 2011.

But earlier Matytsin also participated in the affairs of his native sport. In 2001, there was no money to rent the hall, and the Euroleague match between the Russian and Romanian national teams was held on the basis of the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth, and Tourism. In the same year, as a representative of Russia, he voted at the Presidium of the International Federation for the new rules (seven parties instead of five, while reducing the number of points in the party from 21 to 11).

It was with the help of Matytsin that Kazan became the host of table tennis competitions in those years. Photo:

Meanwhile, Matytsin arrived at the 2013 Kazan Universiade as the president of the Russian Student Sports Union (RSSU), taking this position for 10 years. He was elected in 2005, thus appreciating 20 years of experience in the student sports environment. In 1986, Matytsin started working at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth, and Tourism, the country's first-ever sports university, opened in May 1918, at the height of the Civil War. In 1993, the sports university was renamed the Russian State Academy of Physical Culture.

What is SAK?

In 1996, Matytsin, “settling down” and becoming an Associate Professor, headed the department of individual professional education. By this time, his alma mater had become the centre of the country's student sports. (Graduates of the university are, among others, famous sports figures of Tatarstan such as Vladimir Alekno, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Viktor Goncharov, chess player Valery Yandemirov). It should be clarified that in Soviet times, student sports developed in the society Burevestnik, having at least one team in the highest leagues of the country's championships. After the collapse of the Union, they were among the first to disappear. In contrast to the dying student “brands”, the academy began to create teams in basketball and football. The first experience, rather short-term, was connected with basketball (1994-1998), where, by the way, one of the few pupils of Kazan basketball, Dmitry Volokhov, played, and it was from there that Sergey Tatarovich left to UNICS. The creation of the SKA basketball team at the Academy of Sports was, to some extent, a lobbying decision, since it was the idea of the then rector Valery Kuzin, who was the president of the Russian Basketball Federation from 1998 to 2003. As soon as he became the president of the Russian Basketball Federation (RFB), the team was gone.

In 1999, Kuzin was also elected to the State Duma of Russia, and the new vice-rector Matytsin took care of the Academy of Sports. He got the football team, which moved to the second division in 1998. The initiator of the creation of that team was an academician of the academy Andrey Leksakov, but here, as they say, “your gasoline, our ideas”. A simple teacher, who is now the sports director of the Russian Football Union, would not have been able to find the money for the club where he took the position of president if he had not initially found understanding with the university's management. Matytsin saw the prospects of the team, from where there came the failed “realist” Dmitry Michkov, the player of the Russian national team in beach football Ilya Leonov, current railway man Alexander Kolomeytsev. Ten years after the creation, the SAK, though not for long, “fell into good hands” when Konstantin Sarsania came to the team — with money, players, and ideas. Together, the team was promoted to the first division, but two years later the football-student project was closed.

The first summer Universiade in 2008 was held in Kazan. Photo:

Since 2005, Matytsin headed the Russian Students Sports Union (RSSU) and began to implement his idea of holding Russian championships among universities. Here it should be said that it was student competitions among universities (and not countries) that were Oleg Vasilyevich's bee in the bonnet. The first summer Universiade in 2008 was held in Kazan. These starts could be perceived as a baton from the previous “minister” of sports Vyacheslav Fetisov (in fact, his position was called the head of the Federal Agency for Physical Education and Sports) to the first minister of sports, Vitaly Mutko, who did not have any sympathy for each other.

“We worked together with him when he headed our student sports, together we brought the first Universiade in Russia to Kazan," Fetisov commented on the appointment of Matytsin in an interview with Chempionat. “I hope that Oleg Vasilyevich understands all the responsibility, and I would like to wish him good luck.”

“Competitions among University teams are one of the points of my programme for the development of student sports”

Two years later, Matytsin, again in Kazan, held the fourth European Table Tennis Championship among universities, where the KSU (Kazan State University) team represented Tatarstan.

Oleg Vasilyevich continued to lobby for this project of student championships, by the way, having already been elected president of FISU. In particular, telling the author of these lines that such competitions are the future.

The victory of the Russian national team in Kazan in 2013, or any other victories and defeats, could not have any effect on the election of Matytsin as the president of FISU. As well as the holding of the Universiades in our country, for all their scale and success. In this regard, it was strange to read some colleagues from federal publications, who wrote that “the new minister of sports has two successfully held Universiades (Kazan 2013, Krasnoyarsk 2019)". First, Matytsin had an indirect relationship to Krasnoyarsk, since the RSSU is headed by Sergey Seyranov. Secondly, the RSSU has even less to do with successful performance at the Universiade, forming the national teams shortly before the start, that is, in fact, taking student-athletes from the sports federations for “a lease”.

In 2015, Matytsin with a large margin in the number of votes (102 against 23) outstripped the former FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien in the elections. Photo:

“We can make a forecast that even the specific event such as WorldSkills in Kazan, thanks to the experience of local organizers, may sound louder next year than the student Olympiad," this forecast of Matytsin, expressed in 2018 at the international forum of volunteers in the Kazan camp Volga, once again proves its “equidistant” from Krasnoyarsk 2019 and respect for Tatarstan.

In 2015, Matytsin with a large margin in the number of votes (102 against 23) outstripped the former FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien in the elections. For comparison: Gallien, in turn, beat the previous FISU president, George Killian, by a much smaller margin in 2011 (76 to 50).

...and about doping

The world sports community, and in particular anti-doping, practically did not differentiate between the two previous Russian sports ministers, although there were serious differences between Mutko and Kolobkov. Nevertheless, they are considered to be associates. Matytsin is a completely different story, he is from a completely different camp.

Oleg Vasilyevich himself in an interview with Chempionat shared his immediate plans, which include establishing relationships with WADA and RUSADA: “We must coordinate our activities. Today, the president and the prime minister once again stressed that the ministry of sports should be the coordinator of all areas of activity that are related to sports in one way or another. We will certainly meet after the consultations. I am always open to dialogue, especially since I have international experience in working with WADA, the IOC, and international federations.”

After answering many questions, we will ask ourselves new ones at the end: and who will remain “to manage” in FISU? The chief adviser to the president of FISU was well-known Kazan citizen Igor Sivov, but the comment on the appointment of Matytsin was given by Eric Saintrond, FISU secretary-general and CEO. Or are they preparing a place for Sivov in the new composition of the ministry of sport?

By Dzhaudat Abdullin