Lukoil buys FC Spartak to bring back ‘spark’



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Lukoil acquires stadium of Spartak Moscow Image: Otkrytie Bank Arena, Mos.ru, CC BY 4.0

Russian oil firm Lukoil said recently that it had purchased the Russian Premier League club, FC Spartak Moscow (Russia), as well as the Otkrytie Bank Arena where the club plays its home matches.

‘Reuters’ stated that Spartak is reeling under financial problems in the wake of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which prompted a flurry of Western sanctions against Moscow and further isolated the Russian business community.

FC Spartak Moscow is a Russian professional football club based in Moscow (Russia). Having won 12 Soviet championships and a record 10 Russian championships, it is the country’s most successful club. They have also won a record 10 Soviet Cups, four Russian Cups and one Russian Super Cup.

The 45,360-capacity Otkrytie Bank Arena is a multipurpose stadium North-West of Moscow, Russia. The venue is used mostly for football matches, hosting the home matches of FC Spartak Moscow and occasionally the Russian national team. It was called Spartak Stadium during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

The Russian Premier League, also written as Russian Premier Liga, is the top division professional association football league in Russia. It was established at the end of 2001 as the Russian Football Premier League and was rebranded with its current name in 2018.

‘Reuters’ further stated that Lukoil, which had been Spartak’s general sponsor for more than two decades, said its acquisition of a 100 percent stake in the club meant that longtime owner and President Leonid Fedun would be relinquishing all of his managerial roles.

Fedun stepped down as the Vice-President of Lukoil in June. The billionaire bought the club in 2004 when it was in financial dire straits.

Fedun said in a statement on the club’s website, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to my friends and colleagues from Lukoil for agreeing to support such a significant social project as Spartak in this most difficult situation.”

In May, the American footwear manufacturing company Nike terminated its sponsorship deal with Spartak, 10-time Russian Premier League champions, because they will not be taking part in European competitions next season due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Spartak Moscow has also dismantled its second-tier team, citing financial woes and the need to cut down on its budget.

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