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SBD Global/July 2, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Roman Abramovich's Impact On EPL Debated 10 Years After Buying Chelsea

Ten years after buying Chelsea for a bargain £60M plus £80M to pay off the debts, ROMAN ABRAMOVICH "can be regarded as one of the greatest influences in modern football," according to Matt Dickinson of the LONDON TIMES. Abramovich "was not the first foreign sugar daddy" -- MOHAMED AL FAYED has been bankrolling Premier League club Fulham since '97 -- but he "threw so much money at football that the game was bound to change shape." Indeed, the Russian "has been so influential that there is now a law against him." Pouring "more money into football than anyone ever imagined" -- the best part of £1B ($1.5B) -- Abramovich’s riches "brought a new moral dimension to the argument." It is unthinkable that "there would have been that value" if Abramovich had not come along with his funds. Abramovich "has driven modern Premier League trends of foreign stars, foreign coaches, unjustifiable sackings, soaring wages, transfer inflation and the certainty that money is central to success." Once the distrusted outsider, Abramovich "is now the establishment." Chelsea feels so secure that they even voted for Financial Fair Play "to ward off the threat of future Abramovichs" (LONDON TIMES, 7/1).

ABRAMOVICH EVOLUTION: In London, Bruce Buck wrote "few people could have comprehended" 10 years ago how Abramovich’s ownership would quickly transform Chelsea, taking them "from a club facing mid-table mediocrity and near bankruptcy to become one of the most formidable football teams in the world." The Abramovich Revolution "has really been the Abramovich Evolution." He has "built probably the best training facilities in Europe." He has "invested millions in establishing a world-class squad and a superb academy, one of the elite youth development programmes in Europe" (LONDON TIMES, 7/1).
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