Alisher Usmanov, one of the richest men in Russia, has provided a loan to the country’s football union so it can pay the manager of the national team, who has reportedly not received his salary for months.
Usmanov loaned the Russian Football Union close to $6 million to help pay manager Fabio Capello’s outstanding wages, according to Sky Sports.
On Thursday, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said he was gathering a group of businessmen to arrange payment for Capello.
Reports suggest that the Italian and the team’s general manager, Oreste Cinquini, haven’t been paid since June 2014.
Sources close to Usmanov, a major shareholder at Arsenal, also confirmed to Sky Sports that he agreed to pay due to his being a major sponsor of the 2018 World Cup bid, Squawka.com said.
The billionaire is understood to be embarrassed that Capello and Cinquini have not been paid, and believes the head of the football union should consider his position with the organization.
Russia are currently five points behind group leaders Austria in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, and won just once in their opening four outings. They also lie a point behind Sweden, who occupy second place, and face a difficult trip to Montenegro in February, the report said.
Sixty-eight-year-old Capello has had an illustrious career in football management, having led top international and club sides including the England national team, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Capello has been in charge of Russia since 2012 after leaving his role with England, where he was manager for four years. The Italian oversaw a disappointing World Cup campaign in Brazil, which saw his side crash out at the group stages with only two points, despite being in a group that they were widely expected to qualify from, The Mirror said.
Usmanov was previously the richest man in Russia but his net worth dropped 33% ($6.8 billion) to $13.4 billion this year due to the Russian financial crisis, Bloomberg said.
The Uzbek billionaire’s 1992 marriage to rhythmic gymnastics coach Irina Viner caused a stir because he is Muslim and she is Jewish.