Which Russian tycoons own football clubs across the UK and Europe?

Heavy economic sanctions are expected to be imposed on Russia after their invasion of the Ukraine, could that have an impact on the Russian owners of European football teams?

The influence of Russia throughout Europe is under the microscope due to unfolding political events in the Ukraine. But there are fewer places where that influence has been more keenly felt since the turn of the century than football.

Across the continent, there are a handful of professional clubs in either full Russian ownership, or with majority shareholders.

Planet Sport takes a look at some of the most well-known examples, and also brings you a few clubs you may not have known about.

Roman Abramovich - Chelsea

Abramovich holds a 100% stake in the west London side, but is now rarely seen at Stamford Bridge.

The 55-year-old who bought the Blues in June 2003, and at the latest estimate in 2021, was reported by Forbes to have a net worth of $14.50 billion.

Under his ownership, Chelsea have enjoyed the most successful spell in their history, winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two Champions League trophies, three League Cups, and two Europa League trophies.

There have already been calls for action against Abramovich as a result of the Ukraine crisis. Labour MP Chris Bryant wants Abramovich removed from owning Chelsea.

Abramovich insists he has no direct links with Russian president Vladimir Putin

Maxim Demin - Bournemouth

Demin has owned Bournemouth in full since 2019. He initially bought 50% of the Cherries in 2011, increasing that to 100% two years later. He then sold 25% to an investment firm in 2015, before regaining full control in 2019.

He was estimated in 2020 to have a net worth of £900 million, and the highlight of his ownership for Bournemouth was Premier League promotion in 2015.

Dmitry Rybolovlev - AS Monaco

AS Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev

Ligue 1 has one club with Russian involvement, though the club in question is not actually based in France. AS Monaco is two-thirds owned by oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, via a trust under his daughter Ekaterina's name.

Rybolovlev, who in 2021 had a net worth of $6.7 billion, bought his stake in the club in December 2011, and in the ensuing decade, the club has been crowned champions of France after rising from the second division.

They have also finished second in Ligue 1 on two occasions, in 2014 and 2018, in addition to being runners-up in the Coupe de France in 2021 and the Trophee des Champions in 2017 and 2018.

Dmitry Rybolovlev - Cercle Brugge

Through Monaco, Rybolovlev also owns Belgian outfit Cercle Brugge.

The financial struggles of Cercle, who had been relegated to the Belgian second tier, meant that in 2015 they were searching for an investor, paving the way for a full takeover by Monaco. Rybolovlev, as the majority shareholder of the parent club, became the individual owner of Cercle.

Valeriy Oyf - Vitesse Arnhem

Valeriy Oyf

Vitesse Arnhem, who finished fourth in the Eredivisie in 2020/21, are majority owned by Oyf, though little information about his wealth is freely available.

While Russian investment has led to success for the likes of Monaco and Chelsea, it has been harder to come by for Vitesse, and Oyf has been involved in several controversies where he has confronted members of the club's technical staff.

No Russian ownership of clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal

Western Europe's other major leagues are, at present, outside the sphere of Russian ownership.

The German Bundesliga's 50+1 rule prohibits outside investment from taking a majority stake in any club, meaning no Russian individual could become the outright owner of a club in Germany.

As for Spain, Italy, and Portugal, there are fewer stringent restrictions placed on outside investors, and so there is little to stop a wealthy Russian taking over a club.

The exceptions would be in the cases of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Osasuna, and Athletic Bilbao, who are organised as registered associations, not limited companies, and it is not possible to purchase shares in them, only membership.

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