Sergey Novikov has spent much of the past four years travelling through Russia photographing amateur football. He works for and Grassroots is a project he has funded himself in his spare time. "For me it's always interesting to look at what surrounds the stadium," he said in an interview with the Moscow Times. "How does it fit into the landscape? The stadiums in the Tver region are often surrounded by concrete blocks. In the village of Pryazha in the Karelia region, they built a wooden fence around the pitch as though it were a fortress."

Games Novikov has tried to photograph have often been called off at short notice, usually because teams lack the funding to travel. On one occasion he was asked to play after a player fell ill. He's been to two closed cities in Murmansk with minders to make sure the football was all he was photographing. In Crimea, he's been accused of being a spy. But he's kept going through the difficulties and hopes to produce a book from his project before the 2018 World Cup, documenting the remarkable variety of life outside Russia's biggest cities.

Fedino, Moscow region, 2013

Lazarevskoe, Krasnodar region, 2014

Mtsensk, Orel region, 2015

Olenegorsk, Murmansk region, 2012

Polyarny, Murmansk region, 2013

Kurganinsk, Krasnodar region, 2014

Totma, Vologda region, 2014

Beloomut, Moscow region, 2013

Bologoe, Tver region, 2013

Zakamsk, Perm, 2015

Tuapse, Krasnodar region, 2014

Kachkanar, Sverdlovsk oblast, 2015

Lytkarino, Moscow region, 2016

Helyla, Karelia, 2013

ZATO Krasnoznamensk, Moscow region, 2015

Borodinsky, Tula region, 2014

Solga, Arkhangelsk region, 2016

Troitsk, Moscow, 2012

Valday, Novgorod region, 2013

Istra, Moscow region, 2013

Gubkin, Belgorod region, 2013

Tsivilsk, Chuvash republic, 2014