Englishman in line for key role at Russian football giants – media


Paul Ashworth is reportedly set to take over as Spartak Moscow’s sporting director

Spartak Moscow will hire Paul Ashworth as their new sporting director in the near future, according to reports in Russia.

Championat says it has spoken to sources familiar with the situation, and that Ashworth will soon fly to the Russian capital and sign his contract with one of the biggest football clubs in the country.

Fellow Russian sports outlet Metaratings reports that Ashworth has already obtained a visa, and that the 52-year-old’s arrival is expected next week on September 20 or 21.

This week, Spartak CEO Evgeny Melezhikov also declared that Spartak would soon have a new foreign sports director.

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Leonid Fedun’s reign at Spartak is coming to an end. © RIA / Aleksandr Vilf
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Englishman Ashworth is a well-traveled professional who has worked in Russia before in 2005 as the sporting director at Rostov, where he also became acting manager when Gennady Stepushkin was undergoing treatment.

Starting his career as a youth coach at Cambridge United in 1992, he also boasts passages through Latvia, Kazakhstan and Nigeria, where he explained in an anecdote to The Athletic that he was once held hostage for “four or five hours” by 50 young men who came to the Sunshine Stars FC’s stadium with sticks and baseball bats while he was head coach.

Ashworth is set to arrive at Spartak after a successful 18-month tenure at Astana in Kazakhstan as their CEO and sporting director.

Overseeing their arrival into the Europa League, a historic win over Manchester United at home in the group stage in 2019 was also achieved on his watch.

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He is also due to join Spartak Moscow in a moment of general change at the club.

The Muscovites are Russia’s most successful domestic team of all time with 22 top-tier titles, yet currently lie fifth in the Russian Premier League on 16 points, seven behind leaders and reigning champions Zenit.

Last month, Russian energy company Lukoil announced that it had acquired total control of the club, and also confirmed that long-serving president Leonid Fedun would step down from his role as it attempts to “reinforce Spartak’s competitive position and lead to new victories.”

“There will be big changes at Spartak,” Melezhikov vowed.

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