As you may have read from a previous post, Saturn announced that they won't participate in the 2011-2012 Russian Premier League. As a result the organisers of the Russian Premier League, the Russian Football Union, wasted no time to find a replacement and soon promoted FC Krasnodar to the Premier League. FC Krasnodar, which were formed just 4 years ago, finished the season in the 5th place but given that the 3rd and 4th place finishers, that is Nizhny Novgorod and KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny respectively declined the invitation to jump the Premier the choice fell on the club which is bankrolled by Russian multi-millionaire Sergey Galitsky and lead by former red-green coach Slavoljub Muslin.
As a result of FC Krasnodar's "promotion" to the Premier, a place was freed in the Russian First Division and as in the case of Saturn's departure, the Russian Football Union immediately started to look up for a replacement. Three clubs responded to the Union's offer and threw their names in the hat. The clubs in questions are Torpedo-Zil Moscow, Fakel Voronezh and Lokomotiv-2 Moscow, the farm club of Lokomotiv Moscow.
When questioned about Lokomotiv-2 Moscow's intentions of applying for a place in the Russian First Division, Loko Moscow President Olga Smorodskaya confirmed such news and disclosed that the letters of request have been already sent to the Russian Football Union and now they are patiently awaiting for the Board's decision. Olga continued by stating that she is adamant that should Loko-2 get the Russian First Division slot, the team can cut out a decent figure. She however stressed that to date no reply was given by the Union and thus not much can be said at the present.
On the other hand, the managing director of FC Lokomotiv-2 Moscow Igor Zelepukin stressed that it's the goal of the club to get to the highest level as possible. He continued by stating that the decision to apply for the Russian First Division slot was taken together with Lokomotiv head coach Yury Krasnozhan and President Olga Smorodskaya. He showed his pleasure towards the fact that should Loko-2 get the promotion to the Russian First Division, the main squad (Lokomotiv) will be the main benefactor as those young players who fail to make it to the main squad will be given the opportunity to stay in Moscow and gain invaluable experience by playing for Loko-2 in the First Division. He also pointed out that such measure will also ensure that the players will remain under the supervision of the main squad coaches.
When questioned about the budget credentials, which should amount to about 150 million rubles, Mr. Zelepukin replied that the budget isn't an issue as the club have already several agreements with several sponsors in place. Although showing his hope for Loko-2 chances, he conceeded that such promotion is quite unlikely as Gubkin, Tyumen and Torpedo-Zil ended the season over Lokomotiv in the final standings and together with the much supported Fakel Voronezh bid, chances of seeing a Lokomotiv in the Russian First Division look rather slim.
But well, till there is hope....who knows, maybe destiny wants Loko to face Torpedo as soon as in the next season. Let's hope so!!
~~ Meanwhile Lokomotiv-2 Moscow also confirmed the signature of former Lokomotiv Moscow and Uzbekistan national team keeper Alexey Polyakov for the upcoming season. The keeper made 28 league appearances for Lokomotiv and it won't be the first time for him to put on the Loko-2 shirt. All the best Alexey!! ~~