Head of Russian Football Federation Fursenko resigns after poor Euro 2012 campaign

The Russian football boss has left his post after a disappointing showing from the national side in Poland, as the country looks to prepare to host the World Cup in 2018
Sergey Fursenko, the head of Russia's Football Union (RFU) has resigned from his post with an apology to fans after the national team's group stage exit at Euro 2012.

Russia were favourites to qualify from Group A and repeat their Euro 2008 displays which earned them a semi-final place, and despite a strong opening performance against the Czech Republic in which they won 4-1, a 1-1 draw to co-hosts Poland and a suprise defeat to Greece saw them exit the tournament at the first hurdle.

Fursenko announced his decision during a meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Monday.

"I’ve made this hard decision to quit the post of the president of the Russian Football Union," he said.

"I would like to apologise before the fans for such a result," the 58-year-old added: "Unfortunately, the Russian team have ended their participation at Euro 2012.

"It's a shame because the team was very strong and Dick Advocaat was doing his job very well."

Putin accepted the resignation and thanked Fursenko for his efforts as head of the RFU.

“I do hope that everything will fall into place [in Russian football],” he said.

Fursenko, who took on the role in 2010, was responsible for switching Russian league football to the European calendar and appointing Advocaat as coach of the national team, a post that the Dutchman has left to join Feyenoord.

The former Zenit director's resignation comes as no surprise with Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, saying last week that the country’s football was “moving in the wrong direction”.

With Russia winning the vote to host the 2018 World Cup, the stakes are now even higher for the country's football to move in the right direction, with an entire rebuilding of the nation's grass-roots game and new coaching system being prepared.

The RFU is reported to be gathering to elect a new president, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, State Duma chairman Boris Gryzlov, and Mutko, being named as the potential candidates.