Russian soccer chief resigns after Euro 2012 flop
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian soccer chief Sergei Fursenko quit his post on Monday following Russia's disappointing showing at Euro 2012.
Fursenko, who also sits on the UEFA executive board, resigned after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I would like to apologize to our fans for such a result. I have taken a difficult decision - to step down as head of the Russian Football Union (RFU)," Fursenko told his close friend Putin, the Kremlin said.
Fursenko has been heavily criticized for the team's poor showing at the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, where they failed to advance past the group stage following a 1-0 upset by unfancied Greece in their final Group A match.
Fursenko, 58, was appointed as the RFU boss in February 2010 after working as the president of Russian Premier League club Zenit St Petesburg for four years.
He was largely responsible for hiring Dutchman Dick Advocaat as Russia coach in 2010 after deciding against extending a contract of fellow-Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who led the Russians to the Euro 2008 semi-finals. The team then failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
Fursenko's resignation was greeted with mixed reviews from Russian soccer experts.
Former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who now serves as chairman of Dynamo Moscow's advisory board, said: "Fursenko's exit was justified taking into account our result at Euro 2012."
However, honorary RFU chief Vyacheslav Koloskov criticized Fursenko for abandoning "the sinking ship". Continued...