Alexander Dyukov wants to make a business out of Russian football

Having achieved success in business, Alexander Dyukov will try to repeat them in the RFU.
“He plays passionately, he cannot lose, although, if it happens, he does it with dignity,” as his old acquaintance, actor, member of the Quartet And Rostislav Chaitt describes Dyukov. But there is no chance of losing to Dyukov: he is the only candidate in the early presidential election of the Russian Football Union (RFU).

Elections were needed after the previous president of the union, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, first in December 2017 announced the suspension of his activities in the RFU, and a year later he resigned. The suspension of work in the RFU was needed to file a claim to the sports arbitration court in Lausanne because of the removal of the Russian team from the Olympics and the charges in the "state doping program," Mutko himself explained.

In fact, this was due to pressure from FIFA and other sports structures, two sources close to the RFU say. In the course of international investigations into the use of doping by Russian athletes, the name of the former Minister of Sports and Deputy Prime Minister Mutko who was in charge of the sport sounded more than once.

“At some point, Mutko became toxic, and on the eve of holding the World Cup in Russia, this was critical,” explains one of them.

“Mutko decided to warn possible problems himself and went into the shadows. Nobody pointed out to him the need for this, ”says a source in his environment.

The term of office of the new head of the union under its charter will be limited to the limits of the mandate of the previous president, i.e., September 2020. After that, new elections will be held for a four-year term.

Atypical Petersburger
51-year-old from St. Petersburg Dyukov first made a brilliant career in St. Petersburg, and then went to the federal level. For the past 12 years, he has been President of Gazprom Neft.

An important role in the career of Dyukov played the right dating. A graduate of the Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute, he became financial in 1996, and then general director of the Petersburg Oil Terminal (the original name is Golden Gate). Vladimir Putin’s then vice-mayor of St. Petersburg provided serious assistance and support to the construction of this terminal, Dyukov told in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta in 2000. And one of the company's key partners was businessman Gennady Timchenko, whose company Kineks supplied export of petroleum products from Kirishinefteorgsintez, which belonged to Surgutneftegaz.

In 1998–1999 Dyukov was a top manager at the Sea Port of St. Petersburg, where he worked with the future chairman of Gazprom, Alexey Miller.

In 2003, Dyukov moved to Moscow and headed Sibur. A year before, the company had changed three presidents, Dyukov was fourth.

Now Sibur is one of the largest petrochemical holdings in the world. And then the company was a sad sight. Since the beginning of the 2000s. Petrochemical enterprises (up to tire factories) throughout Russia were bought by Yakov Goldovsky for Gazprom and for the money of Gazprom. But he designed assets not for a monopoly, but for his structures. In 2002, a scandal erupted - on January 8, Goldovsky was detained in Miller’s office. The stay in the SIZO did not last long - in August the businessman was released on bail, and Gazprom and Sibur withdrew their lawsuits, explaining that they had compensated for the damage. After some negotiations and receiving compensation in the amount of approximately $ 100 million, Goldovsky transferred all his remaining assets to Gazprom.

But “every second asset could be called problematic,” said Dyukov in an interview with “Vedomosti” in 2006. “Many enterprises <...> were in bankruptcy proceedings,” recalled a top manager. “There were property disputes over a number of other assets.” But the Dyukov team managed to gather all the enterprises into a new company - Sibur Holding. Gazprombank became the owner of 100% of its shares.

In October 2005, Gazprom bought 75% of Sibneft shares from Roman Abramovich for $ 13 billion. In May 2006, the company was renamed Gazprom Neft, and in November it was headed by Dyukov.

Sibneft's pre-sales training was done well. The company hit on increasing oil production, became one of the first in Russia to introduce hydraulic fracturing technology. In the first years after the transition of the company under the wing of Gazprom, production stopped growing as expected. However, in the future, Gazprom transferred virtually all of its oil assets to its subsidiary, Dyukov. During the management of Dyukov, Gazprom Neft’s production has more than doubled, and the company has become almost the most technologically advanced in the domestic oil industry.

In 2017, Gazprom Neft overtook Surgutneftegaz in production and is now the third largest oil company in Russia after Rosneft and Lukoil. And in Sibur, Dyukov still remains deputy chairman of the board of directors, despite the fact that Gazprom has not been the owner of the company for a long time.

In 2017, Forbes for the first time included Dyukov in the ranking of the 200 richest businessmen in Russia. And in the spring of 2018, the publication estimated his fortune at about $ 500 million (191st place), with Sibur minority packages (3.95%) and Gazprom Neft (0.0054%) as its basis.

One of Dyukov’s acquaintances describes him as a man of “quite meritocratic views” and striving for innovation. Dyukov from St. Petersburg party, but "did not absorb her worst features." “Sport, economics and politics are often tied up, close people, understandable people are placed on high posts,” says a person close to the RAF. “And this is a problem of our management culture.” In Dyukov, however, neither relatives nor relatives work.

Dyukov creates an ecosystem, but does not close it to himself - this is how his acquaintance at Gazprom Neft described Dyukov’s management style: “This is the key to his success. He creates the rules and becomes the guarantor of their execution. " Obviously, the presidents of the RFU Dyukov is not to improve their own well-being or to expand their influence, the Vedomosti interlocutors agree.

Obsessed fan

The fact that the candidacy of Dyukov for the post of president of the RFU was “agreed upon at the very top,” Russian presidential aide Igor Levitin told all interested parties in September, several interviewees from Vedomosti tell. In the RFU it was necessary to change something, and Dukov showed good results with Zenit, explains the choice in his favor of a source in the government: “We decided to see how its management format can be transferred to the whole football.”

Contact with Levitin failed, his assistant left the request "Vedomosti" unanswered.

Since 2008 Dyukov has headed the board of directors, and in 2008–2017 was president of St. Petersburg "Zenith". During this time, the club became the champion of Russia three times (2010, 2012 and 2015), won the Russian Cup twice (2010 and 2016), won the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup (2008).

“This is passion, he is obsessed with football,” says Hait Dyukove. When Dyukov comes to the Zenit matches, he never sits down, the whole match looks upright, he says: "It speaks about the level of involvement."

Former football player Roman Shirokov, who played for Zenit in 2007–2014, says that Dyukov delved into all issues, talked with the whole team, and one-on-one with the players. Do not hesitate to go after the game in the locker room and thank the players. “He could be contacted for any questions,” recalls Shirokov. “He always listened and helped as much as he could.” Even if Dyukov was busy, he always called back. Shirokov also notes the style of communication Dyukova: "He is very polite and tactful, unlike many leaders."

In 2016, Zenit in the UEFA report was named the most profitable club in Europe. During that year, Zenit earned 77 million euros of net profit, mainly due to the sale of football players. The list of sponsors of "Zenith" are mainly subsidiaries of Gazprom, as well as Megafon, Metalloinvest and Sibur. Dyukov himself in an interview with Sport Express said that the club “earns itself”, in addition to Gazprom receives about 2 billion rubles from sponsors. “The revenue from the sale of tickets, tickets and catering at a small Petrovsky (at this stadium Zenit played before the opening in 2017 of the new St. Petersburg arena) reached almost 500 million rubles, 600 million rubles. - revenues from merchandising (sale of club merchandise. - “Vedomosti”). And then there is the prize money from UEFA and the money from the sale of television rights, ”he listed.

It is unlikely that someone from the Russian clubs earns more than Zenit, noted Dyukov. If we rely on the data of “SPARK-Interfax”, this is true: the revenue of Zenit for 2017 (no more recent data) amounted to 9.7 billion rubles, Lokomotiv - 4.7 billion, CSKA - 2.7 billion However, there are skeptics. Zenit lives at the expense of Gazprom, while CSKA owners Evgeny Giner and Spartak Leonid Fedun “walk on their own”, said a former top manager of the RFU.

Waiting for sponsors

Why did Dyukov become president of the RFU? He himself answers this question like this: “For me, this is a new interesting challenge.” “In business, I am always driven by the desire to create and achieve noticeable changes. The same principles apply to football, ”Dyukov conveyed to Vedomosti through his representative. “I do not plan revolutions, but I want to create effective mechanisms for the systemic and long-term development of football in our country.”

Dyukov's main motivation is his love for football and sincere confidence that he will be able to do something worthwhile for his development, his friend says.

"He wants to lead the RFU and understands this deeply," said Sergei Kapkov, a former vice president of the RFU. Since 2014, Dyukov has been part of the RFU Executive Committee, and since 2016, he has headed the development committee. Dyukova, Vedomosti’s interlocutors, called one of the main authors of the football development strategy until 2030, which the Ministry of Sport approved in 2017. “They are involved in everything in the committee, from children's and youth sports schools to the main team,” Kapkov explains.

The nomination of Dyukov agreed with Miller, a person close to the Gazprom group knows. His candidacy was supported by the president of CSKA Giner, and many club owners and functionaries listen to his opinion, says a person close to the RFU.

The only one who until recently refused to believe in the final resignation was Mutko himself, appointed in May by the vice-premier for construction and regional development, say Vedomosti’s interviewees close to the RFU. Moreover, one of the Vedomosti interlocutors admits the chance to achieve his goal with Mutko: “The World Championship was very successful. The coach of the national team Stanislav Cherchesov was his creature. But he missed the moment. ” He suggests: Mutko was sure that after the 2018 World Cup he would be able to return to the RFU without problems, and simply did not carry out the necessary hardware work, immersing himself in the study of a new sphere of economics.

Then Mutko tried to propose his candidates. But here the biggest sponsor of the RFU, Leonate Michelson's Novatek, intervened. In November, one month before the expiration of the sponsorship contract with the RFU, the company unexpectedly announced that it had not yet decided to extend it. Many interpreted this as a hint that not everyone was satisfied with the sponsor in the RFU. Later, Novatek renegotiated a new sponsorship contract. Its amount is close to the previous one - about 330 million rubles, says a person close to the RFU.

Sponsorship money for the RFU is very important. For example, under one of the former presidents of the union, Nikolai Tolstykh, the RFU lost the general sponsor: Novatek in October 2014 did not renew the contract. Then the union half a year could not find money for a salary to the head coach of a national team of the country Italian Fabio Capello and was in a pre-bankrupt state. As a result, the money for Capello - 400 million rubles. - lent billionaire Alisher Usmanov. In 2015, Tolstoy was dismissed, and only after that sponsors began to return to the union — the Novatek contract was renewed, and the Baltika and Megafon breweries appeared.

Find funds from Dyukova succeed, no doubt, without exception, the interlocutors "Vedomosti". "There is always an approach - they will give money for this, but they won't give money for it," said the former top manager of the RFU. “It is nice to lean against Gazprom, everyone understands that you are doing a service, it can come back a hundredfold.”

But Dyukov has to develop football in the country almost from scratch, says the former top manager of the RFU: “If we take children's football, then compared to Germany, in terms of the number of schools and fields, we are close, if not zero. And you need to do it quickly, while there is a rise after the World Cup, otherwise, then everything will sink into a routine. ”

Taking into account how Russia performed splendidly at the championship, electoral expectations for Dyukov will be the main problem, Kapkov said: “He left a legacy of stadiums, interest in football and impotence in matters of budgeting regional clubs. But he can’t affect it. ” He notes that the Achilles heel of any football leader is a national team game, and its results are “unpredictable.” The defeats of the main team of the country always cast a shadow on the head of the RFU.

The closest test for Dyukov will be the qualifying matches of the 2020 European Championships, which will begin on March 21.

There will be no drastic changes

Dyukov in early February said that he would implement the “Strategy 2030”. The document draws the state of Russian football with dark colors: stadium attendance is low, the TV audience is not growing, professional football has no “clearly defined goals of existence”.

Educate players in Russia do not know how, the document says. Most clubs are funded from regional and municipal budgets and unprofitable. Teams do not strive to enter a new level, because they do not have the means to play in a stronger league.

What does the RFU

The RFU is responsible for the development and popularization of football. The Union implements football development programs; approves the structure and regulations of football competitions; ensures the participation of clubs and teams in international competitions; hires coaches teams.

Money RFU attracts from sponsors, earns on the sale of television rights and receives in the form of fees for participation in international tournaments. Two years ago, a new item of income appeared - Russian bookmakers are required to make contributions to the development of sports. In 2017, they amounted to about 500 million rubles.

Most of all, the RFU spends on national teams: 1.3 billion rubles. in 2017. At the 2nd place - "Development Programs", 330 million rubles. From 2017 to 2020, the RFU plans to allocate 71 million rubles each to support regional federations and interregional associations. in year.

In 2018, the RFU budget became deficit-free; before that, the union had difficulties. The RFU made the most problems in 2014–2015, when the organization was led by Tolstoy. Union debt amounted to 2.6 billion rubles.

In September 2015, Tolstoy was dismissed. Mutko, who was elected president of the RFU on a non-alternative basis, was able to pay off his debts for two years. “Mutko’s relationship with sponsors was much better,” said the former top manager of the RFU. The union’s debts were fully repaid by the end of 2017. Currently, 15 companies are listed as sponsors on the RFU website, including Novatek, Adidas, Aeroflot, Fonbet, Deloitte and Megaphone.

In Strategy 2030, a bet is made on the appearance of more private funds in Russian football. It is planned to attract investors through tax breaks and other preferences. Tax incentives are also offered to organizations - operators of sports infrastructure.

Today's 3 billion rubles. per year, in order to qualitatively change the level of Russian football, it is not enough, says a person close to the RFU. But the revenue part of the budget of the RAF can be "significantly increased by changing the principle of working with commercial tools," he notes. Changes require, inter alia, the marketing policy and the licensing mechanism of the organizers of the competition, said the source "Vedomosti".

To reduce the "inadequate" salaries of players, the strategy provides for the possibility of moving to a new limit on foreign players. Now their number is limited to the field - at the same time no more than six people. This leads to the fact that in the teams there is a clear separation of positions on the "Russian" and "legionary". The possibility of introducing a limit on the number of foreigners in the application for the season is discussed - no more than 10 out of 25 players. This will allow more flexible formation of the composition.

By 2030, the requirement to include in the application of clubs four players from the club’s own academy and from the national training system can be introduced. As a result, Russia should take at least 6th place in the UEFA club rating (where it is now), the occupancy rate of the stadiums should grow, and interest in football, too. But the authors of the “Strategy 2030” do not see the possibility of significantly increasing revenues from TV rights, merchandising and ticket sales.

“In Europe, football is a business, because the leading European leagues create a product that is in demand. We are only striving for this, - said Forbes Dukov in May 2018. “But even what we have now can be sold better. Obviously, our Premier League needs rebranding and new positioning. ”