Roman’s big prize
ROMAN ABRAMOVICH may be reluctant to release funds to Jose Mourinho for new signings, but the Chelsea owner will foot the $6 million (£3.5 million) bill for next week’s Russian Channel One Winter Tournament in Israel.
Abramovich will fly to Israel to present the $2 million in prize money while the remaining funds will be used to bring CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk to Israel. They will be joined in the competition by Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The tournament, which begins on January 24, features Haifa, Dynamo Kiev and Spartak Moscow in one group with Hapoel, Donetsk and CSKA in the other. With the top two qualifying for the final on January 31, Haifa and CSKA could come face to face just two weeks before they clash in the Uefa Cup in Russia.
Meanwhile, Uefa has rejected CSKA’s request to delay naming the venue for the home leg until a week before the match to give them a clearer idea of the weather conditions.
The Muscovites will play the first game in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz.
Tal Ben Haim and Avraham Grant