Russia misses latest deadline to pay Capello’s unpaid wages
MOSCOW (AP) — The latest deadline against the Russian Football Union to pay national coach Fabio Capello has passed without action.
Capello last received his wages in June amid financial problems at the RFU, and Russian authorities set a deadline of Jan. 19 for him to be paid before pursuing possible legal action.
The Russian Federal Labor and Employment Agency, known by its Russian abbreviation Rostrud, made no mention of any court case in a statement on Monday, saying only that it would conduct an “unscheduled inspection” of the RFU to enforce demands that Capello be paid.
Under Russian law, RFU president Nikolai Tolstykh could be banned from his post for up to three years for failing to pay an employee. He told Russian media on Tuesday it received an unspecified amount of “extra funds” from FIFA last week that it wanted to use to pay Capello, but these were not enough to cover the whole debt.
For 2018 World Cup host Russia, the case has become a major embarrassment. During a visit to Russia on Tuesday, UEFA head Michel Platini called the situation “a very bad advertisement for Russian football,” according to comments quoted by Russian newspaper Sport Express.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also a FIFA executive committee member and played a key role in bringing Capello to Russia in 2012, said last Friday he was “ashamed” to have to discuss the Italian’s unpaid wages at a joint news conference with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
“This topic of the contract needs to be dealt with soon,” he added.
Under the terms of a four-year contract extension signed a year ago, and ending after Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup, Capello has a reported salary of 8 million euros ($9.3 million) a year, with a large penalty for early termination.
Rostrud began investigating Capello’s unpaid wages last year and says it has identified more than 181 million rubles ($2.8 million) in unpaid wages from June through November. The RFU has missed further payments since then.
Capello’s contract is believed to be denominated in euros but paid in rubles according to the exchange rate at the time of payment. Following a collapse in the value of the ruble, that means salary payments from the summer may cost the RFU almost twice as much as if they had been paid on time.
Capello has insisted the unpaid money is not a factor in Russia’s poor form, with just one win in their last eight competitive matches, including a winless group-stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil.
He said in October he was “getting close to the limit” of his patience with the salary situation, but has not expressed any discontent since.
The RFU has struggled with debts for years. On Monday, oil billionaire and Spartak Moscow owner Leonid Fedun said he was owed 300 million rubles ($4.6 million) by the RFU after lending it money to fund the national team’s preparation for last year’s World Cup.