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Aleksander Yaroslavskiy Sells FC "Metalist" for $ 300 million

BODRUM, Turkey, January 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

- The former Soviet football sensation of the year

Earlier this week, Aleksander Yaroslavskiy, one of the most influential businessmen in Ukraine, the main investor of Kharkiv's preparations for Euro 2012, and the owner of the DCH Group and FC Metalist, created the main sensation of the year in the former Soviet football space. He announced the sale of the club to a new investor. The exact amount of the deal was not disclosed, but Forbes estimates it at around $300 million.

During the 7 years in which Yaroslavskiy was the president of FC Metalist, the club experienced the brightest stage of development in its entire 85-year history. The businessman has invested more than $ 570 million in the development of Kharkiv football and preparation of the city for Euro 2012. Formerly 173th place in the UEFA club ranking, FC Metalist now consistently ranks among the top 30 clubs in Europe. Over the past six seasons the team won Ukrainian championship bronze medals six times. In 2007, after a 20-year break, Metalist returned to the European Cup arena: the UEFA Cup first, then Europa League, with victories over Bayer, Sochaux", "Austria", "Sporting", Sampdoria, Debrecen, Besiktas, Galatasaray, and Olympiakos. This season, the Kharkiv team also excelled with "the goal of the century" scored by Taison, and, as a result, UEFA has added Metalist`s striker to the symbolic European team. In addition, thanks to Yaroslavskiy, the Kharkiv club now has a training camp which, according to football experts, is comparable to the infrastructure of Barcelona and Bayern. And Kharkiv no longer needs to give its young football talents to other clubs - thousands of children are able to train in the academy of Metalist. At home games the team enjoys the support of full stands, and, thanks to Euro 2012, Kharkiv fans were able to witness matches between the strongest teams in Europe, and with the brightest football stars, such as Michel Platini, or Cristiano Ronaldo, in their native city.

In his statement Yaroslavskiy named the reason for the sale of FC Metalist: "There is only one (and this is the main one) reason why I have to leave the club: The confusing claims of the city government on me as the investor and as a result, an unprecedented psychological pressure exerted on the team and staff. This unhealthy atmosphere threatens all that was created by hard work of many people." So politically correctly the businessman referred to pressure to transfer the Metalist stadium - the home arena of the club, built for Euro 2012 under the direction of Yaroslavskiy in the format of public-private partnerships (30% of the investments from Yaroslavskiy, 50% from the state budget, and 20% from local budgets of Kharkiv city and Kharkiv region) - to municipal ownership. Kharkiv journalists found out that the object was built for the money of the president of FC "Metalist", which the state then gradually and with long delays was compensating. In turn, Gennadiy Kernes is also known for trying to cut popular Gorky Park under the pretext of preparing for Euro 2012, sparking violent protests of the "green". And for the purchase of overpriced benches for Kharkiv subway and several other controversial decisions.

At the same time, in his farewell letter, Aleksander Yaroslavskiy wrote: "I do not leave Metalist to fend for themselves, I act in their interests. The change in the investor eliminates the personal factor while preserving the source of funding of the club." In an interview to Forbes, he said: "This is not the first attack to me and to the club, these things had been happening for a long time. The question is not just me. There is a team, there is the head coach, the administration. I can not always breathe courage and bravery in people. I am sure for myself, I am a self-sufficient person, and the players do not understand how this can happen. Many of them are foreigners. For them, things like that are just wild.... So I found a sponsor who will fund the club."

The new owner of FC Metalist is the non-public young Kharkiv lawyer and businessman, 27-year-old Sergii Kurchenko. In his inaugural statement, he announced ambitious goals for the club, but his meeting with the head coach of Metalist, Myron Markevych, has not yet taken place.


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