Englishman Paul Ashworth has landed a top Russian football job despite the war with Ukraine – but it has not gone down well.
Ashworth, who left his role as Brighton & Hove Albion's video analyst in February, has been unveiled by Spartak Moscow as their new sporting director. Welcoming him to the club, Spartak stated “in addition to extensive professional experience, an excellent knowledge of the Russian language played an important role” in his appointment.
However, the appointment, which was announced on Monday, has been slammed by Russian State Duma Deputy and fellow top flight side FC Khimki board member Roman Teryushkov.
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Speaking to RB-Sport, he explained: “As a Duma deputy and fan of Khimki, I can say that this is an internal matter for the club itself.
“But I consider it unacceptable to invite a foreign specialist when we have a sufficient number of Russian specialists and managers in Russia, and in the conditions of a special military operation to spend money on their maintenance.
“The club is commercial, private and, apparently, has its own position on development and sees the invitation of an English specialist as some kind of lifeline for itself.
“For me, to be honest, it’s a strange decision when the club invites foreign specialists to manage and coach positions. There are a sufficient number of high-quality specialists in Russia who can manage sports facilities well."
Spartak are already managed by Spaniard Guille Abascal, meanwhile, cross-city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow have a coaching team headed by German manager Josef Zinnbauer.
Ashworth returns to Russian football having previously spent five months with FC Rostov back in 2005, during which time he worked as both director of football and caretaker manager.
He has prior experience working as a sporting director, though, having held the position at Kazakh side FC Astana between January 2019 and August 2020. Ashworth also spent time as the club's caretaker boss during that period.
His managerial career has also seen him take charge of three clubs in Latvia, prior to returning to his native England in July last year to work for Brighton, where his brother Dan Ashworth had been the technical director.
Ashworth arrives in Moscow with Spartak currently fifth in the Russian Premier League after 10 matches, already trailing leaders Zenit St. Petersburg by seven points.
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