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Help by businessmen like Usmanov important for Russian football — sports minister

August 04, 2015, 17:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian billionaire businessman Usmanov earlier said he had provided gratuitous financial aid to the RFU in 2015 to the total amount of 1 billion rubles ($16 million)

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© TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Assistance provided by businessmen like Alisher Usmanov is important for the development of Russian football, Sports Minister and candidate for the post of the president of Russia’s Football Union (RFU) Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Tuesday.

Russian billionaire businessman Usmanov said on Tuesday he had provided gratuitous financial aid to the RFU in 2015 to the total amount of 1 billion rubles ($16 million).

"The assistance by businessmen of this level is important for football and is needed by it," Mutko said.

"In this case, Alisher Usmanov is helping the RFU resolve a number of problems. It is also important that this aid should be channeled into specific projects that could yield effect like the development of children’s and youth football, the construction of training centers and the creation of the methodological base. It is necessary to ensure that big business can see that the money it invests in football yields real results," the sports minister said.

In early February, Usmanov allocated 400 million rubles ($7 million) to the RFU to pay 8-month wage arrears to Russian national football team Head Coach Fabio Capello.

In June, the billionaire businessman gave the RFU another 300 million rubles ($5.5 million), which were also spent on discharging the RFU’s financial obligations to Capello.

The RFU paid no wages to the Italian coach between June 2014 and February 2015 and Usmanov, who is also the president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) agreed to help the country’s governing body of football to repay the wage arrears.

The Russian Football Union severed its contract with Capello, which was expected to last until 2018, in mid-July over the national football team’s poor performance in the 2016 Euro Cup qualifying matches.

According to data available to TASS news agency, the RFU must pay Capello €6 million in compensation for the contract’s early termination. Aside from this, the RFU is required to pay 2 million euros to other Italian specialists who worked in the national football team. This sum includes debts to personnel that accumulated in 2014.

Mutko said last week Usmanov had paid Capello the first tranche of compensation. The RFU expects to make full compensation payment to Capello by late September.

Italian phenomenon Capello took over the national team as the head coach in July of 2012 and managed to help the Russian squad to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The team, however, failed to clear the first stage of the much-anticipated global tournament putting their coach in the center of stern criticism and raising serious concerns in the country about the team’s performance in the next World Cup, which would be hosted by Russia in 2018.

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