- © RIA Novosti. Vasily Ponomarev
© RIA Novosti. Vasily Ponomarev
VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia, February 11 (R-Sport) – Former Russian champions Alania Vladikavkaz have pulled out of the second division after losing a high-profile battle against insolvency, the regional government said Tuesday.
The Caucasus side, who won the 1995 Russian title, have been living off bank loans since their main sponsor, RusHydro, pulled its funding following relegation from the Premier League last season.
Matters came to a head at the end of 2013, when Alania failed to appear at an away game, saying they could not afford the air fare with reported debts exceeded a billion rubles ($28.5 million).
“After discussing the current situation, the club's supervisory board made a decision to notify the Football National League on the impossibility of the team's further participation in the competition and to start the liquidation of FC Alania,” the North Ossetian government said in a statement.
The club lived off the regional government's dime in its home republic until 2012, when RusHydro stepped in.
Alania barely survived a previous financial collapse in 2006, when they were briefly expelled from professional football before reforming in the third tier.
Last month, regional governor Taymuraz Mamsurov assured North Ossetia would still be represented in professional football in the Second Division South, the third level of the Russian football pyramid.
Alania were the only non-Moscow team to win a Russian, as opposed to Soviet, title until Zenit St. Petersburg in 2007.
They had been contenders for promotion back to the Premier League this season, in second place at the winter break. Their withdrawal grants automatic 3-0 wins to their remaining opponents this season.