Former Russia head coach, Valery Gazzaev has bemoaned the lack of supporters attending matches in the Russian Premier League.
Gazzaev was speaking after meeting with representatives from England, including the general secretary of the English Premier League, Nic Coward, as well as leading figures from broadcast organisations.
“We talked in detail for a long time about how they create and implement the football infrastructure for the best league in the world at the moment,” Gazzaev said.
Last season, just 2.85 million spectators attended Russian Premier League games. In contrast, League 2 in England, the fourth tier of football in the country, saw 4.4 million fans attend matches during the 2012-13 season.
Admittedly, there were more matches played and the average attendance in Russia was higher, but the fact remains that only 13,000 on average attend each Russian Premier league match.
The English Championship, the league below the Premier League attracted 9.4 million spectators – almost four times more than the Russian Premier League – with an average attendance of 17,448. To put the Russian figures into even starker perspective, the average Premier League match last season was attended by 35,921.
To increase crowd levels at top flight football in Russia, Gazzaev believes the playing standards needs to improve.
“The performances of the national team and Russian clubs playing in Europe needs to improve. This is fundamental and without it there won’t be supporters, success, or financial security,” the former CSKA Moscow head coach said.
Although, a cursory glance at the performances of the English national side in recent years, appears that there is little correlation between international success and Premier League attendances. If anything, the worse England perform at major tournaments, the more people watch football at club level.
Which bodes well for the Premier next season.