Abramovich asked to help fund World Cup
Published 05/12/2010 | 05:00
Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, is to take a leading role in preparations for World Cup 2018 after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin indicated he should "open his wallet" and help pay for the championship.
Mr Abramovich, who already bankrolls the Russian national team, was a prominent member of Moscow's delegation to Zurich, where Fifa last week awarded Russia the right to host the competition.
While he usually shuns publicity, the tycoon could be seen grinning and embracing other members of the delegation, including Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin.
Mr Abramovich, 44, is expected to stump up millions as the country embarks on a £2.4bn (€2.9bn) plan to build 13 new stadia and renovate three existing ones.
Mr Putin said that Mr Abramovich could ease government spending on construction for the World Cup by investing privately.
"Let him open his wallet a little. It's no big deal -- he won't feel the pinch. He has plenty of money," he said.