Cover Osteuropa 5/2006

In Osteuropa 5/2006

Gifts of Millions
Oligarchs and Football in Ukraine

Stefan Wellgraf

Deutsche Fassung


The success of numerous football clubs depends on sponsorship from members of the business elite. These donations are not altruistic gifts, but aim to mobilise other resources in fields unrelated to sports. Manchester United, Juventus Turin, AC Mailand and Red Star Belgrade are examples of this phenomenon. Meanwhile, oligarchs from Eastern Europe have also been getting involved in football. In Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov sponsors Shakhtyor Donetsk. This is part of the functional logic behind the Donetsk Region’s clientele rule. Providing support for Dynamo Kiev or Chelsea London as well as clubs in Russia feeds on other motives. The oligarchs are trying to accumulate social capital, so as to stabilise their precarious legal position.

(Osteuropa 5/2006, pp. 39–58)