The executive director of the Russian Olympic Committee Nikolay Tolstykh has been elected the President of the Russian Football Union. The post was vacant after former head Sergey Fursenko resigned following Russia’s poor performance at Euro 2012.
In a second-round runoff Tolstykh gained 148 votes, 24 more than his main rival and Russian Premier League head Sergey Pryadkin, who was backed by the Premier League's 16 clubs.
"I would like to thank everyone for the trust shown in me to head the Russian Football Union – and it is a union – of people who love football and are faithful to it," Tolstykh said in his acceptance speech.
"It's a huge responsibility, and I'll do everything that depends on me … to help Russian football develop successfully."
The former Dynamo Moscow midfielder and former head of Russia’s top football division, Tolstykh has 25-years of experience in the game. He is known as a supporter of greater governmental involvement in football.
Before the vote, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, an ardent advocate of a shakeup in the Russian football, publically supported Tolstykh, calling him the best possible candidate for the post.
Several top club officials, who would likely have supported Tolstykh’s opponent, stepped down from the executive committee of the Russian Football Union last week.