Russian soccer league president steps down after 14 years

MOSCOW (AP) — The president of the Russian Premier League resigned on Tuesday after 14 years in the job following debate over TV deals, the format of the league and how to boost Russia’s results in European club soccer.

The league didn’t give a reason for Sergei Pryadkin’s resignation. He was elected unanimously to a new five-year term last year and has a seat on the UEFA professional football strategy council. Ashot Khachaturyants, the head of the Russian Football Union’s refereeing commission, has been named interim league president.

The league’s 16 clubs also voted to keep a standard home-and-away, 30-game format for next season. This year, the Russian union commissioned a study which proposed reorganizing the league so that the biggest clubs play each other more often and a split into “gold” and “silver” groups. One aim was to halt Russia’s slide in the UEFA rankings of the strongest leagues, which limits how many Russian clubs can play in European competitions.

That proposal wasn’t mentioned in the league statement on Tuesday. The league said keeping the format was down to expected reforms of European and world competitions. UEFA is planning to change the Champions League format and FIFA is pushing to hold the men’s World Cup every two years.

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