Chair of Tatarstan's Football Federation Alexander Gusev held a news conference at the Kazan City Press Center to share an insight into the development of football in the region, as well as his impressions on the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
According to Gusev, the availability of infrastructure, qualified coaches and referees are all a must for developing football, supplemented only by the interest among local residents.
Tatarstan currently has 46 stadiums, 49 children's sports centers and football clubs with a total of 8,940 people, including 634 girls, the official pointed out.
"The number of girls who want to play football in the Republic of Tatarstan is growing by the year," the noted.
In addition to this, the region also has a covered football pitch for the winter months. A program to build football pitches is underway, and more than 800 facilities of this kind have been completed. There are also 42 football pitches with artificial turf, including 15 in Kazan, and one or two artificial fields are developed every year.
"The football infrastructure is quite satisfactory, and the Republic of Tatarstan is probably a national leader in this respect," Gusev said.
He explained that the region has overcome the lack of qualified referees, since a school for referees has been working in Tatarstan for ten years, with 20 referees graduating every year. As many as 200 referees currently work in the region, covering the needs of the entire Republic, and 40 of them are first category referees.
Gusev said that the main challenge for the region was the lack of professional football coaches, adding that the Volga State Academy for Physical Education, Sport and Tourism was expected to open a coaching department for training professionals in this field.
The official also shared his impressions on the performance by the Russian team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, saying that he watched all World Cup matches, and watched matches played by the Russian team twice. He believes that the team has been able to change its game in the course of the World Cup, and the players gave everything they had.
"I can say in all honesty that I did not expect this result. <…> I believe that the result we have is outstanding. At least everyone is now aware that there is football in Russia, and we know how to play it," Gusev said in conclusion.