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The case of Igor Strelkov is an example of a Dispute Resolution Chamber involving only club representatives and no player representatives. Last Friday the Russian DRC, which still has no representatives from the footballers’ union PSFT and whose chairman was appointed without PSFT consent, created a very bad precedent.

Igor Strelkov is a footballer from FC Krylia Sovetov, a club from Samara that plays in the Russian Premier League. He objected to the order issued by the FC Krylia president to train everyday for at least three hours in the cold Russian weather of Samara while the rest of the team was at training camp abroad in Turkey and Spain. 

Strelkov asked the Russian DRC to force FC Krylia into allowing him to train with the rest of the team. DRC arbitrators took a different decision. They decided that the 28-year-old striker must obey club orders and train individually, following the schedule set by the club. Moreover, FC Krylia refused to register the player for this season’s championship, which started last Saturday, March 12th.

The Russian footballers’ association PSFT considers the decision by the NDRC outrageous. The union will help the player to appeal to the CAS. ‘This decision is a clear indication that the Russian DRC is in urgent need of reform, in accordance with FIFA regulations, in order to guarantee players’ rights’, reacted Nikolai Grammatikov, the PSFT secretary general.

The Russian Football Federation (RFU) refuses to change the composition of its DRC, which would guarantee fair and independent arbitration. 

FIFPro considers it to be very important that each country has an independent DRC. FIFA guidelines determine that DRC composition must be based on equal representation, i.e. equal numbers of club and player representatives, as well as an independent chairman. 

Despite all efforts from the Russian union PSFT, this has still not been achieved in Russia. FIFPro is asking FIFA to make sure that its own members comply with its guidelines properly. 

The Strelkov case is a distressing example of a DRC that is just made up of club representatives. The player now has to take his case to the CAS, but it will take a long time before this Sports tribunal will make a decision. In the meantime, the current situation will remain unchanged for Strelkov.

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