Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich Stops Funding National Football Academy In Russia
Russian billionaire and Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich "is stopping his funding for Russian football," according to the BBC. Abramovich's spokesperson at the investment firm Millhouse said his National Football Academy in Russia had "fulfilled its objectives." There are "no reports of any dispute." Reports said that the NFA "funded some 130 new pitches" and spent up to $200M. The NFA, set up in '04, "also paid for youth coaching programmes in Russia." Abramovich "began funding Russian football shortly after buying Chelsea" (BBC, 8/28). The AFP reported the representative "emphasised that the foundation's activities were being wound down, not completely halted." Abramovich established the foundation with a 1B ruble ($30M) annual budget. According to the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, the foundation paid around $7M a year to Dutch Manager Guus Hiddink, who "led the Russian squad to bronze medals" in the 2008 Euro (AFP, 8/28).