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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Lukoil VP and FC Spartak Moscow Owner Leonid Fedun said that he has spent almost $1B "to return Spartak Moscow to the glory it achieved in his youth, when it was Russia’s top soccer club" and plans to "take the team public after building a new stadium," according to Panja & Chilcote of BLOOMBERG. The former Soviet army officer has spent about $60M annually on Spartak, "known as the People’s Team." Spartak "won all but one of the first 10 league championships following the collapse of the Soviet Union." It hasn’t secured the title since '01 and "has been surpassed by its Moscow rivals and Zenit St. Petersburg." Fedun "acquired the team eight years ago" and has spent $500M on a new 50,000-seat stadium to be completed this year. Revenue has grown from about $4M to about $60M "during his ownership." Fedun, 56, said, "After 2017, Spartak will increase their revenue maybe by three or four times. My dream is to organize the IPO of Spartak in maybe 2017, 2018 and I can get a return on some of my investment" (BLOOMBERG, 3/11).

The Nigerian Football Federation says lesbians "have not been banned from playing in the West Africa country," according to Oluwashina Okeleji of the BBC. NFF spokesperson Ademola Olajire said, "Unfortunately, a section of the media has blown petty speculation out of proportion." The issue arose when Nigeria Women Football League Chair Dilichukwu Onyedinma said lesbian players would no longer be eligible for the Nigeria women's national team and would "be sacked" from their club sides. However, Olajire "is adamant that is not the case." Olajire said, "We have already circulated Onyedinma's speech at the NWFL's annual general assembly, clearly she never said anything of the nature that has been alleged" (BBC, 3/11).

Fans of Iranian football club Esteghlal "have been banned from attending a home game in the Iranian Professional League after insulting the referee during" the Esteghlal and Traktor Sazi match (TEHRAN TIMES, 3/11). ... Northern Ireland's football body, the Irish FA, announced that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has made an award of funding to the association to assist in delivering the "Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport" program until March '15. The program aims to deliver sporting interventions that can: promote equality, tackle poverty, tackle social exclusion and provide opportunities to realize wider socio-economic returns. The award from DCAL is up to £1.5M ($2.23M), spread as £500,000 ($745,000) per year (Irish FA).