Following the announcement on Monday that Russia's three professional football leagues would be changing to a winter season from 2012, fans of Luch-Energiya Vladivostok have written to President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin desperately asking them to intervene and overrule the decision.
The letter sums up most Russian fans' attitude to the proposal to change Russia's footballing calendar better than I ever could - so I've translated and published the letter below:
"At the meeting of the RFU there has been – and we do not fear to use this word – a monstrous event: the murder of Russian football. Yes, murder no less, and the murderer is none other than the President of the RFU, who is well known to you, Mr. Fursenko. The decision to change the format of the country’s championship over to a “autumn-spring” format is the act in question.
As you know, in this period the Siberian and Far Eastern regions suffer low temperatures and regular snowfall. Naturally, playing football in such conditions is impossible – and not just playing, but watching it in stadiums. This will obviously contribute to the draining of fans away from the game, and the decreasing in popularity of the country’s number one sport. At the moment not one of Russia’s clubs has the infrastructure which allows football to be played in this period, especially not the clubs from the lower divisions who eke out a meagre existence.
It seems that Fursenko has absolutely no interest in how football academies will function, nor that the numbers of fans will decrease in droves. And, by the same token, small clubs won’t receive any support from regional governments, since there is little point in spending money if people don’t go [to the stadiums]. Not one regional government budget can include the construction of a covered sports complex capable of holding 20-40,000 people, nor is the federal budget flexible enough, given that such things cost around $500 million.
Dmitry Anatolevich, Vladimir Vladimirovich! [Here the fans are using Medvedev and Putin's first name and patronymic, a polite form of address in Russia - J.A.] We beg you to intervene in this situation. We understand perfectly well that FIFA is opposed to the intervention of government organs in the work of national football federations, but this is an extreme case, we could lose our football! Please answer the national call and help to save football in Russia!"