MOSCOW (AP) Russia has backed down on a demand for national team coach Leonid Slutsky to stop dividing his time with CSKA Moscow.

Slutsky has combined club and country duties since he took over as Russia coach on a temporary basis in August.

After Slutsky rescued Russia's floundering qualifying campaign and secured a place at next year's European championship, Russian Football Union head Vitaly Mutko said he wanted Slutsky to stay, but insisted he must leave league leader CSKA.

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However, Mutko backed down on Saturday, telling state TV there was ''no sense in having a coach who's free (from club commitments).''

Mutko, who is also Russia's Sports Minister, added that ''we can't strip bare our country's leading club'' by forcing Slutsky to leave.