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Rom could be "Russian" off

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ROMAN ABRAMOVICH was nowhere to be seen as Chelsea continued to implode at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

No doubt he was still celebrating Russia winning their bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

The Russian triumph has already impacted badly on English football.

Now it could have serious ramifications for Chelsea.

Vladimir Putin has made it clear he expects oligarchs like Abramovich to contribute significantly to the country's £30billion costs.

So how much longer will he fund Chelsea, a financial exercise that has set him back more than £700million?

Abramovich - whose commitment to Chelsea seems to be flagging - has already instigated huge cost-cutting at the Bridge.

Instead of an anticipated £100m in summer signings, just £23m was spent on Ramires (£18m) and Yossi Benayoun (£5m). No wonder Carlo Ancelotti is fretting.

The question now is: where do Abramovich's loyalties lie?

To a club who are in the middle of their worst run since September 2007?

Or to his country as they start their countdown to the biggest sporting event they have ever staged?

Or, to be more exact, to his master Putin, the overlord who allowed Abramovich and his fellow oligarchs to make their fortunes?

And he can take them away if they don't play ball.

FIFA could now see their decision to back Russia also help their long-held ambition of breaking the power of the leading Premier League clubs.

Their jealousy at the success of England's top flight and the way Chelsea and now Manchester City are buying trophies through financial clout has already seen them put in place regulations.

Clubs must break even by 2013-2014 or risk a ban from the Champions League.

FIFA's end-game is for the Champions League and all football to be played on a level playing field.

And as FIFA rein in the top clubs, they themselves grow stronger thanks to awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to countries with the financial clout of Russia and Qatar.

But it's time to stop blaming everyone else and understand why we are so unpopular. Part of this is our obsession with money and celebrity.

Did we believe parachuting in Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham at the last minute would leave FIFA's executive committee star-struck?

This is not The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing.

Bidding for a World Cup is a process undertaken by committed and influential professionals that takes years.

Similarly, you don't revive a national side by bringing in a big-name boss at £6m-a-year.

As with World Cup bids, it takes long-term planning.

In 1999, the Lilleshall School of Excellence was shut down. The training and production of young players was entrusted to the clubs.

Criminally, they were keener on bringing in foreign imports.

On Saturday, of a possible 44 players, only eight Englishmen started for Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Spurs.

Belatedly, we have raised £110m to resurrect the plan for a national football centre at Burton, where the emphasis will be on bringing through the next generation of players and coaches. It will open in 2012. Better late than never.

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Imputations galore in there: the master, overlord sh*t probably takes the cake. Defo lawyer's paradise. Can't believe the ed. let this through - does the Sun even have in-house legal. Makes you wonder. Hope the Sun gets done for plenty - but we'll probably never know, out of court settlement, retraction & all that & other terms not to be disclosed. Roman must be so sick of it. If he does sell up who could blame him?

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Their jealousy at the success of England's top flight and the way Chelsea and now Manchester City are buying trophies through financial clout has already seen them put in place regulations.

Clubs must break even by 2013-2014 or risk a ban from the Champions League.

First off, how dare they compare us to City?! They have surely spent loads more than we ever did, and they have bought more players than us. Did we ever have 35 players in our squad? Doubt it.

And they also seem to forget that we haven't spent loads of money in the recent years.

As for the 2nd part, I seem to recall reading that we do actually break even now. Or did I misunderstand it?

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maybe the reason why he is cutting down on transfers,are because he wants to make sure we are prepared for these rules about qualifieing for the european cup,something these hacks in the sun dont seem to or are unable to think about.i dont really read this rag,but it seems that unless you are a northern team playing in red,you are always wrong.......

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Jesus, what a complete load of unsubstantiated bollocks.

So True. And he gets paid to write this drivel and his Editor let’s get it go into print , makes me sick .

Surely this should be held up as all that is wrong with education, universities and journalism in the UK today.

Send in Dorset I reckon

Edited by Tea Bar Boy
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So True. And he gets paid to write this drivel and his Editor let’s get it go into print , makes me sick .

Surely this should be held up as all that is wrong with education, universities and journalism in the UK today.

Send in Dorset I reckon

i love reading dorsets post but id hate to send him into the tabloids because he would have to sign the contract with the sun to hate all things chelsea and i dont want dorset to hate us lol

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The sun would never take Dorset. There are more words in his weekly post than are printed cover to cover in the Scum.

This article is such a strech it actually makes you pity the writer.

Putin and Roman are no great friends, that is well known, and why on earth would a country sitting on HUNDREDS OF TRILLIONS in oil and other resources have trouble funding a 30 billion dollar tournament? Which is going to pay for itself many times over, im sure.


That alone makes it such a joke without talking about the 100m spending spree, the cheap jibes at us, the 2018 decision being a jab at the premiership, and claiming that Roman's fortune is somehow at Putin's beckon call.

What kind of proto humans read this sh*t and think "Oh, really incisive piece there"?

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It's just BS speculation. For all we know this is true but none of this is backed up with facts. Journalists really have no way of knowing what is in Romans head and what his plans are so they ought to just shut up.

Let us remember that a few weeks ago, Roman went to watch the Blackburn match with a bunch of supporters at a bar in New York on a Saturday morning. Does that at all sound like someone who isn't passionate? The man is a billionaire and literally could have done anything he wanted in the biggest city in the world but he chose to watch Chelsea play a lower table opponent with a bunch of strangers at a bar.

Not to mention it would be pretty short sighted to walk away from a 9-figure investment because of a few bad weeks.

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My favorite bit was this....

Or, to be more exact, to his master Putin, the overlord who allowed Abramovich and his fellow oligarchs to make their fortunes?

And he can take them away if they don't play ball.

They make it sound like a pirate movie or something.

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Now this is more of a story for 2011 and RA

Boris Berezovsky has a number of fights on his hands, not least the next instalment of his epic with fellow Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Katy Dowell looks ahead to one of the biggest battles the City’s courts are likely to see in 2011

The $2bn (£1.28bn) legal showdown between Russian oligarchs Boris Berezovksy and Roman Abramovich is set to be one of the biggest cases of 2011. The road to the High Court has been rocky for both sides, but theirs is an archetypal fight that has caught the ­attention of the profession for more than just legal reasons. The self-exiled Berezovsky has created a micro-legal market all of his own in London.

Through his several disputes with ­former business partners, the Russian has not only fed his own lawyers at Addleshaw Goddard and libel specialists Carter Ruck, but also countless others acting for those he has or is litigating against.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom partner Paul Mitchard QC, one of the world’s leading litigators, is representing Abramovich in his dispute with Berezovsky. Mitchard has instructed Brick Court’s Andrew Popplewell QC to lead the case.

Meanwhile, Inna Gudavadze, the widow of another former business partner, Arkady ’Badri’ Patarkatsishvili (once Georgia’s ­richest man), instructed former UK ­attorney general and Debevoise & Plimpton partner Peter Goldsmith QC to represent her interests in the fight. She has since switched lawyers, bringing in Hogan Lovells partner Graham Huntley.

Several more firms, including Clyde & Co and Hill Dickinson, are also in on the action. For oligarchs wanting to litigate, London is the Rolls-Royce destination.

“Over the past few years,†says Addleshaws partner Mark Hastings, who is acting for Berezovsky, “London’s seen a significant increase in large-scale litigation arising out of events in Russia and the surrounding CIS states. One reason for this is that more wealthy Russians are choosing to live in London. Another is that they rightly ­perceive the English legal system to offer guarantees of fairness and impartiality not always available in other jurisdictions.â€

Berezovsky claims in the suit that Abramovich used “threats and intimidation†to force him to sell shares in oil ­company Sibneft at a fraction of their value. Berezovsky sold Abramovich the Sibneft stake for $1.3bn between 2001 and 2003.

Abramovich’s legal team has attempted, on more than one occasion, to have ­Berezovsky’s claims against him thrown out on the grounds that he has insufficient ­evidence to support them.

In March Mr Justice Colman ruled that the case should be set down for a 12-week hearing in October 2011. Before that, in January, there will be a final attempt by Abramovich’s team to have the claims struck out.

Dig the new breed

To understand the background to the ­dispute, let us rewind to the mid-1990s, when a new breed of Russian oligarch began their rise to the top.

Abramovich was Berezovsky’s protégé at the time and, together with Patarkatsishvili, they began building a vast stock of Russian commodities and media interests. In the summer of 1995, as the Russian president Boris Yeltsin was creating the privatised oil company Sibneft by decree, the trio agreed that they would buy up and divide the ­business among them.

They bought up Sibneft for a mere $100m. When it was valued on the open market two years later, it was worth $5bn.

Sinking feelings

Cracks in the relationship began to emerge after Vladimir Putin came to power. ­Berezovsky had been a one-time confidant of Putin’s predecessor Yeltsin, but Putin, who Berezovsky had helped elevate, was more hostile toward Russia’s oligarchs.

In the particulars of Berezovsky’s claim against Abramovich, which has been ­submitted to the court, one incident that is alleged to have triggered his fall from grace was Berezovsky’s apparent criticism of how the Putin regime handled the explosion of the Russian submarine the Kursk, in which all crew members perished.

The television channel owned by ­Berezovsky, OFT, suddenly became critical of Putin. According to the claim, he was asked to relinquish his ownership of the former state-controlled television channel. It is claimed that this is when Abramovich began to turn on Berezovsky.

It is also alleged that Putin himself ­wanted control and state officials ­threatened to imprison Berezovsky if he refused to give in.

Abramovich’s legal team refuses to acknowledge any alleged threats ­stipulated in Berezovsky’s claim. Abramovich’s team also refuses any knowledge of the claim that relations between Berezovsky and Putin deteriorated significantly. This, it is alleged, ultimately resulted in ­Berezovsky ­absconding to France and then to the UK, where he was granted political asylum.

Berezovsky alleges that it was in 2000, after he had fled to France, that Abramovich first requested he gave up his shareholding in ORT. The claim alleges that the request was made directly on behalf of Putin and that he was told that if he immediately ­relinquished his shareholding, the Russian government would release Nikolai Glushkov, a close friend and business ­associate of his. If he refused to sell up, Putin would seize their assets and Glushkov would remain in jail. Together with Patarkatsishvili, they would be paid $175m for their shares.

To be clear, such allegations are ­furiously refuted by Abramovich’s legal team, which suggests that it was Berezovsky who ­wanted to sell for $150m, and eventually the price was raised to $175m. This was still a minute sum compared with the channel’s market value, it is claimed.

Patarkatsishvili’s widow Inna Gudavadze became embroiled in the row after her ­husband died unexpectedly in February 2008. Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili had announced publicly that they were to split their assets in 2001. However, Berezovsky now claims that was merely a ruse designed to lift political pressure being put on them by the Kremlin. He claims he is owed half of the Patarkatsishvili estate.

According to Abramovich, the precise details surrounding Berezovsky’s claims are vague and as such should be struck out. Any deals allegedly made between the three oligarchs were never agreed contractually, claims Abramovich.

Clear thinking

At the strike-out hearing, which began in July 2009, Popplewell told the High Court that Berezovsky’s claim lacked clarity. “We want to know where the oral threats were made so that witnesses could be called,†he said. “This is a case that cries out for a ­summary judgment or strike-out.â€

In their skeleton argument, Berezovsky’s lawyers argued that Abramovich’s strike-out application was absurd. “The ­suggestion that the court should conclude that Mr Berezovsky’s claim has no realistic prospect of success on the basis of ­inferences from putative undisclosed ­documents is frankly absurd, and is ­another clear ­indication of the misguided nature of Mr Abramovich’s application,†they said.

Poisonous rumours

On 10 March, just weeks before Colman J gave his decision in that case, the libel judge, Mr Justice Eady, had awarded Berezovsky £150,000 after he was falsely named on Russian state television as the man behind the murder of the former Moscow agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Berezovsky’s counsel, 5RB’s Desmond Browne QC, instructed by Carter Ruck, told the court that the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (RTR) had declined to take part in the proceedings.

“I can say unequivocally that there is no evidence before me that Mr Berezovsky had any part in the murder of Mr Litvinenko,†Eady J stated bluntly in his ruling. “Nor, for that matter, do I see any basis for ­reasonable grounds to suspect him of it.â€

It was a good month for Berezovsky. Just weeks later Colman J said the “complexity and multiplicity of issues†of his claim meant it was “exactly the kind of claim†that is unsuitable for applications under [the rules that give judges power to strike out claims].â€

Yacht a palaver

Berezovsky was back in court in July after Edmiston & Company claimed he owed the yacht-broking company commission for its role in selling his 360ft vessel Darius to one of the world’s richest Arab dynasties, the Al Futtaim family. Berezovsky had denied that Edmiston & Company had been an “effective cause†of the sale and disputed the broker’s right to commission.

Hill Dickinson partner Russell Gardner instructed 7KBW’s Stephen Hofmeyr QC to act for Edmiston & ­Company.

Mr Justice Field ruled in favour of ­Edmiston & Company, stating that ­Berezovsky had found himself “in a difficult situation†as deadlines approached for the sixth and ­seventh payments on the ­unfinished yacht.

“He didn’t have the ready means to pay the shipbuilding contract instalments as they fell due, and if he failed to pay any of them by the due date he stood to lose at least a substantial part of his investment in the yacht,†the judge added.

The judge said Berezovsky had ­instructed Nicholas Edmiston, founder of the yacht-broking firm, to market the part-finished boat “on a discreet basisâ€, and that without him the sale would not have gone through.

The ruling was handed down just weeks after Berezovsky’s wife, Galina, was granted a divorce from the billionaire, leaving her able to claim £100m of his estate. The ­former Mrs Berezovsky instructed ­Mishcon de Reya to represent her interests. The ­couple were married for 18 years but had been separated for 16.

Berezovsky’s legal battle with Abramovich will be epic, but it is not his only fight. The one-man litigation whirlwind has blown through the High Court, and the storm he has created is giving lawyers plenty to clean up.

Source : http://www.thelawyer.com/bear-fight/1006308.article

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