Ro­man raises cash prize

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - By si­Mon Griver

De­SPITe the credit crunch, Ro­man abramovich is in­creas­ing the prize-money for the Rus­sia Chan­nel one Win­ter Tour­na­ment, held each year in Is­rael, from $2 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion. The num­ber of teams par­tic­i­pat­ing is also be­ing in­creased from six to eight.

This is the fourth year that the tour­na­ment, which takes place in Tel aviv in the last week of Jan­uary, is be­ing sched­uled.

This year, eight teams will com­pete — four from Rus­sia and four from Ukraine, in­clud­ing Uefa Cup hold­ers Zenit St Peters­burg, and three teams from Moscow (Spar­tak, CSKa and Loko­mo­tiv) and the Ukrainian quar­tette of Dy­namo Kiev, Shakhatar Donetsk, Dne­propetro­vsk and Me­tal­ist Khakhov.

The win­ners will get $5 mil­lion and the run­ners-up $2.5 mil­lion. No Is­raeli teams have been in­vited af­ter their par­tic­i­pa­tion over the past two years has failed to at­tract lo­cal in­ter­est.

It re­mains un­clear whether the offthe-pitch events will be as lav­ish for the up­com­ing tour­na­ment, which at­tracts wealthy oli­garchs from the for­mer Soviet Union, in­clud­ing likes of arse­nal share­holder alisher Us­manov and abramovich him­self, who spends the en­tire week in Tel aviv.

Last year, abramovich re­port­edly forked out $5 mil­lion in or­gan­i­sa­tional costs, above and be­yond the prize money, in­clud­ing $800,000 for a pri­vate per­for­mance by amer­i­can Jewish singer Pink at Tel aviv’s Hangar club.

abramovich, who ear­lier this year had a $30 mil­lion bid re­jected for Bet Ch­elouche in Tel aviv’s Neve Tzedek quar­ter is ex­pected to re­new ne­go­ti­a­tions when he is back in Is­rael.

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