Alexander Medvedev: "We want Zenit's women to be at the top of the league within one or two seasons"
The Zenit Director General spoke to us on the creation of a Zenit Women's side.
The popularity of women's football is growing, if we look at North America, women's football is more popular there than men's! But the most important thing is that at schools and colleges there it is a huge sport where girls participate in large numbers and really enjoy the game. In Europe, there is a very respectable level of women's football across Scandinavian and Germany too.
Unfortunately in Russia the sport has not been developing at such speed, but the RFU bosses are backing the development of women's football and responding to what the fans want in Russia, Europe and the whole world. We've created a women's football team, or Zenit Women's Football Club, and will aim for the Russian championship title!
The first ever head coach of the Zenit Women's team is Olga Poryadina. Why did she get the nod?
We have chosen a very promising coach and a well-known player who has played at the top levels. She has good managerial experience and most importantly, she has the desire to move the club forward, to build a good team and to engage St. Petersburg's younger female players. We will very quickly see girls from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region become part of the club. The team will grow as part of Zenit Football Club and I hope the girls will play exciting and beautiful football.
Where will the team train and play?
We've looked at all our training facilities and decided that the women's team will train at the Gazprom Training Centre at Udelny Park alongside the men's team. There we have many possible pitches for suitable for training and the women's youth team will work at the Gazprom Academy.
The fact that both teams will train side by side will allow them to share their football knowledge and experience. I've spoken with Sergei Semak on this subject and he will also help out with the women's team as much as he can.
What are the challenges facing the team?
We are realists and know that a team is not built in one season, but we want Zenit's women to be the up there at the top of the league within one or two seasons!