Monday February 16th, 2015

Russian president Vladimir Putin plans to call on some of soccer's richest owners to help finance the 2018 World Cup amid the country's recent economic struggles, Alan Hubbard of The Independent reports.

According to the report, Putin plans to call Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and Arsenal’s Alisher Usmanov to help with funding because of dropping oil prices and sanctions over Ukraine.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has indicated that the number of World Cup venues could be reduced, while Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko says that the country will be looking to bring in private donors and ask billionaires Abramovich and Usmanov to help.

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“There seems to be something of an emerging understanding that the government will help the titans of the economy to maintain the liquidity they need to stay in business," said Sam Greene, the director of King’s Russia Institute at King’s College London.

The Russian government asked for help in financing last year's Sochi Olympics, which ended up costing $51 billion to stage. It was the most expensive Olympics ever.

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- Scooby Axson

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