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roman abramovich

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roman abramovich

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Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich (Russian: Рома́н Арка́дьевич Абрамо́вич, pronounced [rəˈman ərˈkadʲjɪvʲɪtɕ əbrɐˈmovʲɪtɕ]; born 24 October 1966) is a Russian business tycoon and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC.

He is known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, an English Premier League football team, and for his wider involvement in European football.

Abramovich is currently the 9th richest person in Russia and the 68th richest person in the world, according to the 2012 Forbes list, with an estimated fortune of US$12.1 billion.

Abramovich and European football

Chelsea FC

In June 2003, Abramovich became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in London. Former owner of the club was Ken Bates, who then bought Leeds United with the money gleaned from the sale. The club immediately embarked on an ambitious programme of commercial development, with the aim of making it a worldwide brand on a par with footballing dynasties like Manchester United and Real Madrid, and also announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art training complex in Cobham, Surrey. Chelsea finished their first season after the takeover in second place in the Premiership, up from fourth the previous year. They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, which was eventually won by the surprise package of Porto, managed by José Mourinho. For Abramovich's second season at Stamford Bridge Mourinho was recruited as the new manager, replacing the incumbent Claudio Ranieri. Chelsea ended the following season as league champions, for the first time in 50 years, and only the second time in their history. Since the takeover the club have won nine major trophies – the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League 3 times, the FA Cup 4 times (with 2010 providing the club's first ever league and FA Cup double) and the League Cup twice. Manchester United are the only English club to have won more honours in that time.

It is argued that Abramovich's involvement with Chelsea has distorted the football transfer market throughout Europe, as his wealth often allows the club to purchase players virtually at will although that has changed in recent years. He did however sanction the transfer of Andriy Shevchenko for a then British record transfer fee of around £30 million (€35.3 million).

In the year ending June 2005, Chelsea posted record losses of £140 million (€165 million) and the club is not expected to record a trading profit before 2010, though this did decrease to reported losses of £80.2 million (€94.3 million) year ending June 2006.

In a December 2006 interview Abramovich stated that he expected Chelsea's transfer spending to fall in years to come, although he subsequently seemed to move away from this position. He is also present at almost every game Chelsea plays and shows visible emotion during matches, a sign taken by supporters to indicate a genuine love for the sport, and usually visits the players in the dressing room following each match, although this stopped for a time in early 2007 as rumours of a feud between Abramovich and manager Mourinho, regarding the appearances of certain players, notably Andriy Shevchenko, appeared in the press. In the early hours of 20 September 2007, José Mourinho announced his shock exit as Chelsea manager by mutual consent with the club following a meeting with the board. Former Israel coach and Chelsea's director of football, Avram Grant, was named as his replacement. Ever since Grant had joined Chelsea (in the summer of 2007) there had been friction between him and Mourinho. Mourinho reportedly told Grant not to interfere in team affairs but with Abramovich's backing, Grant's profile at the club rose after he was made a member of the board. This event apparently did not go down well with Mourinho and may have contributed to his surprise departure. Avram Grant led Chelsea to the position of runners-up in the Premiership and the club's first Champions League final appearance, beaten by Manchester United on both accounts. Nevertheless, on 24 May, Grant was sacked as manager by Abramovich. On 11 June 2008, it was announced that Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had taken Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, would be taking over as manager. But he only lasted until 9 February 2009 before being sacked. In February 2009, acclaimed coach Guus Hiddink was appointed caretaker manager for the rest of the 2008/09 season, delivering Chelsea's first post-Mourinho trophy with the FA Cup. He was replaced by another former European Cup winning boss, Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti won Chelsea their first ever Double in his first season but was also sacked at the end of his second after Chelsea's storming form at the start of the campaign collapsed spectacularly during the winter months. André Villas-Boas, after taking Porto to a Europa League triumph, and having previously worked alongside Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, was appointed as Abramovich's seventh different manager of Chelsea on 22 June 2011. However Villas-Boas was sacked in on 4 March due to a bad run of form, of one win in their last eleven games. The current manager is Roberto Di Matteo, who is serving in a caretaker capacity.

In January 2011, Spanish footballer Fernando Torres completed his move to Chelsea on a five-and-a-half year contract on 31 January for an undisclosed fee reported to be £50 million, which set a new record for a British transfer and made him the fourth most expensive footballer in history. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the 2012 Champions League final to become champions of Europe for the first time in their history; the success was commonly described as being the 'Holy Grail' for Abramovich, who prioritized the competition far above any domestic successes in England.

CSKA Moscow

In March 2004, Sibneft agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal worth €41.3 million (US$58 million) with the Russian team CSKA Moscow. Although the company explained that the decision was made at management level, some viewed the deal as an attempt by Abramovich to counter accusations of being unpatriotic which were made at the time of the Chelsea purchase. Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) rules prevent one person owning more than one team participating in UEFA competitions, so Abramovich has no equity interest in CSKA. A lawyer, Alexandre Garese, is one of his partners in CSKA. Following an investigation, he was cleared by UEFA of having a conflict of interest. Nevertheless, he was named most influential person in Russian football in the Russian magazine Pro Sport at the end of June 2004. In May 2005, CSKA won the UEFA Cup, becoming the first Russian club ever to win a major European football competition. However, in October 2005, Abramovich sold his interest in Sibneft and the company's new owner Gazprom, which sponsors FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, cancelled the sponsorship deal.

Russian national team

Abramovich at the World Cup in Germany  Abramovich also played a large role in bringing Guus Hiddink to Russia to coach the Russia national football team. Piet de Visser, a former head scout of Hiddink's club PSV Eindhoven and now a personal assistant to Abramovich at Chelsea, recommended Hiddink to the Chelsea owner. De Visser was also instrumental in the appointment of Hiddink as temporary Chelsea manager for the final months of the 2008–09 season.

National Academy of Football 

In addition to his involvement in professional football, Abramovich sponsors a foundation in Russia called the National Academy of Football. The organization sponsors youth sports programs throughout the country and has constructed more than fifty football pitches in various cities and towns. It also funds training programs for coaches, prints instruction materials, renovates sports facilities and takes top coaches and students on trips to visit professional football clubs in England, Holland and Spain. In 2006 the Academy of Football took over the administration of the Konoplyov football academy at Primorsky, near Togliatti, Samara Oblast, where over 1000 youths are in residence, following the death at 38 of its founder, Yuri Konoplev.

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