A group of Russian football lovers has started a fund-rising campaign aimed at collecting the sum of 21.4 million euros ($24.2 million) needed to buy the national squad manager Fabio Capello out of his contract. 

“Dear friends! We believe that everyone who is not indifferent to the fate of Russia’s football has been bitterly disappointed with our national side’s recent performances,” said the statement at the main page of the www.fabiogohome.betfoot.ru site.

“Recent public surveys showed that the vast majority of the country’s football lovers want Capello to step down.

“But to do that the Russia’s Football Union (RFU) needs to pay Capello a serious penalty for cancellation of his contract – 21.4 million euros.”

Those behind the site wrote that they were simple football fans and had no relation to any official organisations.

Capello has again come in for heavy criticism following Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat in Euro 2016 qualifying campaign at the hands of their group leaders Austria.

“It’s high time to start looking for those millions,”Sport Express headlined Monday in reference to the huge sum needed to buy Capello out of his contract. 

Last year Capello, who is reportedly the world’s highest paid coach, signed a lucrative new contract to stay in the job through to the end of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia will host.

But after Russia were knocked out at the group stage of last year’s World Cup in Brazil without winning a game, the 68-year-old coach was widely criticised, and only the backing of the country’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko prevented the former England manager from losing his job.

Meanwhile, in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign Russia have just two wins to their name — a 4-0 home victory over Liechtenstein last September before being awarded a 3-0 victory from the abandoned clash against Montenegro in Podgorica in March.

They have been held at home by minnows Moldova and suffered two defeats to Austria. 

Russia are third in the group with four matches to go, meaning their place at Euro 2016 is far from secure as only the best third-placed side from the nine groups qualifying along with the top two sides from each section, and the rest going into play-offs.

Russia’s next qualifier is a potentially decisive fixture at home to Sweden in September. – Agence France-Presse

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