MOSCOW (AP) — Nikolai Tolstykh was elected president of the Russian football federation on Monday.
Tolstykh, an executive director of the Russian Olympic committee, defeated Sergei Pryadkin, the head of the Russian Premier League, in the second round of voting at the Russian Football Union. Five other candidates were eliminated in the first round.
The 56-year-old Tolstykh replaces Sergei Fursenko, who resigned in June after the national team was eliminated in the group stage of the European Championship.
Tolstykh headed the Russian Professional Football League for eight years but quit his post in 2010 in protest of Fursenko's policies.
"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. "It's a huge responsibility, and I'll do everything that depends on me ... to help Russian football develop successfully."
Speaking of his first steps as new football chief, Tolstykh promised not to make radical moves and said that "everything will be aimed at improving the image of Russian football."
He also commented on violence and racism at the stadiums during football matches.
"We will create a system to eliminate these problems as quickly as possible," Tolstykh said. "Football arenas should not be a place for such incidents."