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SBD Global/June 13, 2013/International Football

Billionaire Lisin Likely Buyer For Russian Premier League Club FC Lokomotiv

Russian Premier League club FC Lokomotiv, currently owned by the state-run Russian Railways, is going to be sold to a private individual, most likely to metals oligarch Vladimir Lisin, the Russian online newspaper reported on Wednesday. The report, based on the paper’s unnamed sources, claims Lokomotiv is hurriedly being prepared for sale as the Russian Railways management is disappointed with the team’s performance over the last few seasons. In '12, Novolipetsk Metals Plant Owner Lisin was Russia’s second-richest man with a net worth of $15.9B, according to Forbes. He is president of the European Shooting Confederation and the Russia Shooting Union. Lokomotiv, which won the Russian Premier League in '02 and '04 and reached the semifinals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice in the late '90s, has had a terrible run over the last few seasons. The squad has not won any medals since '06, and last season, it finished in ninth place, its worst-ever result. The appointment of former Croatia Manager Slaven Bilic as the side’s coach prior to the season and the annual budget of $115M, one of the highest in the league, apparently did little to restore the club’s once solid reputation.

SHAKE UP AT CLUB: The news about the possible sale of the club comes amidst reports that Bilic is likely to be replaced with Belarusian coach Leonid Kuchuk, who managed Kuban Krasnodar in the second part of the season, bringing the South Russian side to fifth place and a slot in the Europa League, the best result in the club’s history. If appointed, Kuchuk would become Lokomotiv’s 10th coach since '05. Lokomotiv’s and Lisin’s spokespeople were not available for comment on June 12, which is a national holiday in Russia.
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