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Russian Premier League president re-elected as clubs approve expansion plans

Artem Dzyuba of Zenit Saint Petersburg shoots on goal as Vladimir Rykov and Grigori Morozov of Dynamo Moscow defend (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Sergey Pryadkin has been re-elected as president of the Russian Premier League, while plans have also been outlined for the expansion of the top-tier club football competition.

Pryadkin will serve another five-year term as RPL president after being re-elected during the league’s general meeting in Moscow yesterday (Thursday).

Pryadkin joined the RPL in 2001 and has served as president since 2007. He was re-elected to serve a five-year term in April 2015 and RPL spokesman Sergey Alekseyev confirmed to Russian news agency Tass that this has been extended by a further five years.

Meanwhile, the league is set to expand from its current 16-team format to 18 teams after the issue was discussed during the general meeting.

Russian newspaper Sport-Express reported that 14 out of the current 16 RPL teams voted in favour of the expansion. Zenit St Petersburg and Spartak Moscow voted against the proposal.

Pryadkin told Sport-Express reporters: “The expansion of the league was one of the main issues (discussed at the general meeting). We were tasked with increasing the intensity of our championship and changing (its) format.

“All clubs voted to have more games. Everyone understands that the intensity and entertainment should be greater. Various schemes were examined and several surveys identified a number of options that could implement this. The majority adopted the option of a ‘smooth’ championship without a playoff, with the league expanding to 18 teams.”

Sport-Express noted that the RPL is awaiting a response from the Russian Football Union before it can progress with its expansion plans.