Russian billionaire may allocate $100M to support Uzbek soccer team

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 24

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

Russian businessman of Uzbek origin Alisher Usmanov provided significant financial support to the Pakhtakor (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) football club, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported.

Representatives of Usmanov said that he is planning to allocate $100 million to support the strongest football club in Uzbekistan. Reportedly, he has no plans to buy Pakhtakor though.

Recently, the Uzbekistan 24 TV channel has released a film dedicated to the Russian businessman. The film revealed that he is providing significant support to Pakhtakor, the only Uzbek team that participated in the USSR championship and won the national championship of Uzbekistan 11 times after the collapse of the USSR.

“He gave hope to our football team. Over the past year and a half, there have been lots of changes in Pakhtakor. The team is happy with everything. Thanks to Alisher Usmanov, almost everything has changed: management, coaches, philosophy. We have all we need now,” head coach of Pakhtakor Shota Arveladze said.

Usmanov, in his turn, said that he is proud of being Uzbek and is ready to do anything needed for Uzbekistan anytime.

The current amount of support for Pakhtakor from Usmanov is about $20 million. His involvement in the affairs of the club generated rumors that he’d became the owner of the team. However, Pakhtakor later dismissed his information.

Usmanov's representatives confirmed that there are no plans of buying Pakhtakor. The businessman only financially supports the structure that owns the club. At the same time, the amount of funds that Usmanov is willing to allocate to support Pakhtakor can reach $100 million. A significant part of these funds will go to construction of a new stadium. Pakhtakor plays home games on the arena built in the 1950’s.

It is not the first time Usmanov is involved in football projects. He had owned a large share in London's Arsenal since 2007. In early August 2018 Usmanov sold 30 percent of the shares of “Gunners” for 550 million pounds.

In 2008, the Metalloinvest company, controlled by Usmanov, sponsored the Dynamo Moscow FC. In 2015, Usmanov allocated a total of 1 billion rubles to the Russian Football Union to cover debts to head coach of the Russian national team Fabio Capello.

In mid-August Usmanov said that he receives many proposals for investing in football projects and considers all options. In particular, he did not rule out that he could invest in the English Everton, owned by his long-time business partner Farhad Moshiri.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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