Prosecutors asked to probe Russian FA
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior member of Russia's parliament has accused the country's soccer union (RFU) of grossly overspending its budget and wants the financial records investigated.
Igor Lebedev, a deputy speaker of the State Duma lower house, has asked the Prosecutor General's office to look into the RFU, including the contract details of new national team coach Fabio Capello and the organisation's former chief Sergei Fursenko.
Lebedev believes too much focus has gone on foreign coaches instead of developing the game at the grassroots level.
"The disproportion between spending on hiring several foreign coaches for the national team and the money spent on the development of mass soccer in Russia is quite obvious," he told Reuters.
"The RFU has ignored its own rules, taking dubious decisions and spending tens of millions of roubles from the state budget."
The head of Russia's Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin said on Wednesday the government would look into the matter.
"We have received Lebedev's request asking us to probe the RFU," Stepashin was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"We want to find out if the RFU was spending state funds or borrowing money from the state bank. In this case we would act. We should discuss this matter at our next board meeting."
The RFU has been heavily criticised by local media following Russia's disappointing showing at Euro 2012, where Dick Advocaat's team failed to advance past the group stage.
Fursenko, seen as a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, hired Advocaat but quit his post in the wake of the Euro flop.
Reports suggested Advocaat was paid 7.5 million euros a year.
Last month, the RFU hired Italian Capello to succeed the Dutchman, signing the former England manager to a reported annual salary of $12.4 million despite facing a deficit of up to $30 million.
Lebedev, who last month put himself forward as a candidate to succeed Fursenko, said the RFU had twice ignored requests to submit its financial records.
The RFU denies any wrongdoing.
"Mr Lebedev should ask Mr Fursenko directly (about the RFU deficit) instead of making requests to us," said acting RFU chief Nikita Simonyan, adding that Capello was costing it less than Advocaat or his predecessor Guus Hiddink.
Simonyan said Lebedev was simply looking for publicity ahead of next month's RFU presidential elections.
(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Mark Meadows)
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