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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russian Oligarch and British Football Club

Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea for 140 million pounds

In 1945, when football players of the Moscow team Dynamo had a game with Chelsea within the scope of their famous and triumphant tour in Britain, no one either in the Soviet Union or in Britain could imagine that a Russian man would own Chelsea in several decades. Roman Abramovich is a humble Russian oligarch, the governor of the Russian Chukotka region, whose fortune makes up 3.5 billion British pounds, which is almost six billion dollars.

Russian football fans were sorry to know the news - why didn't Abramovich buy Dynamo or Zenit, why didn't he assist in the recreation of the exotic football team Spartak-Chukotka? In England, the news about Chelsea caused a predictable dubious reaction. On the one hand, some people were happy to know that the team with the negative financial balance obtained a very good investment. Abramovich purchased Chelsea's control shareholding through the company Millhouse Capital and paid the club's debt. The oligarch has spent 140 million pounds in total. He acquired a bit more than a half of 170 million stocks. According to the rules of London's City, if Abramovich controls 90 percent of stocks, he will be allowed to purchase the remaining ten percent without any problems. The oligarch will have an opportunity to make Chelsea a totally private club. The club's fans are eagerly waiting for new players to appear in the club - the Chukotka governor has already dropped a hint about a certain list of potential acquisitions that would turn Chelsea to a superclub.

On the other hand, England is trying to save its face. The English press is doing its best to find out as much as possible about Roman Abramovich's biography and the origin of his capital. The  Guardian newspaper wrote, Abramovich owned the 44 percent shareholding of the oil company Sibneft. Last year, he received the profit of $480 million from the company that he never attempted to develop. Abramovich also received about three billion dollars from another oligarchic company Yukos, when it purchased Sibneft. Having controlled Chelsea Football Club, the oligarch transferred the cash of 140 million pounds sterling to one of the richest countries of the world. The newspaper also wrote that the officials of Thatcher's British privatization were angels in comparison with Roman Abramovich, who had obtained big pieces of the Russian oil industry almost for free. Tony Banks, former minister for sports, offered to test the transparency of the funds invested in football. London's Evening Star wrote, the British secret service was interested in Roman's links with several "unattractive" Russian businessmen. It is not known, though, why didn't they do it before the deal.

Despite the traditional British conservatism and nationalism, foreigners in the British football are not a big surprise. English head coach is Sven Eriksson, a Swedish man. The problem is about Roman Abramovich being in the wrong place. The history of a Western football club directly affects its fans. Italian clubs Roma and Lazio have procommunist and ultraright fans respectively. Amsterdam-based Ajax was founded by the Jewish community of Holland, which has all adequate consequences - other teams' fans are not allowed to use the international symbol at Ajax's stadium - the Celtic cross.

Chelsea is a significant club for England. The club has a typical English tactics – a fast game with a strong pressure. The club does not have an impressive list of victories, despite its almost 100-year history (one title of the champion, one Cup of England, one Cup of the League and the continental Cup). Yet, Chelsea has a lot of fans. Chelsea is the team of the prestigious district - it has the British establishment and business elite among its fans. That is why, the deal with Chelsea may be estimated as an attempt of the British business elite to penetrate in the club (in addition to other versions - a hobby or an investment). Roman Abramovich purchased the club, as well as a piece of land in a prestigious area, a hotel, a popular nightclub, and some other little things.

It is not known, if Britain is going to accept the Russian oligarch. It is generally believed that any Russian person is an alien, a mobster, a suspicious individual, even if he or she is of the Jewish origin. However, everything changes even in conservative Great Britain. It is not ruled out that Roman Abramovich will be recognized as a good man. He is a rich person - money has no nationality. 

Daniil Toropov

On the photo: Roman Abramovich

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