Russian privately held oil producer Lukoil has closed a deal to buy the popular Moscow football club Spartak after long-serving president Leonid Fedun announced his decision to step down, the company said.
Lukoil will also own the club’s home stadium in Moscow’s Tushino district, specially built to host the club.
Fedun, a major shareholder in Lukoil, has been investing some of his wealth into the football club since 2004, when he bought control of the club from another Russian businessman, Andrey Chervichenko.
Despite hiring foreign coaches and players, Spartak had never regained its old Soviet-era success. However, Fedun remained a popular figure among fans as he was seen dedicating much of his time to the club.
Fedun left the post of vice president in Lukoil at the end of June, following the path of company’s founder and its first president, Vagit Alekperov, who quit the oil producer in April.
Both men had watched their wealth dwindle after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Lukoil’s stock plumeted, prompting the company to withdraw its shares from international circulation.
With Europe’s football governing body UEFA banning Russian teams from competing in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League in the 2022/23 season and the Rusian government showing no sign of backing down in its military offensive, Lukoil’s deal looks more like a short-term favour to Fedun rather than a long-term investment.
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