Russian billionaire buys Monaco football club

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2011, 12:03 PM IST

Moscow: Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought a controlling stake in French Ligue 2 side AS Monaco, the club announced.

Long-time Monaco resident Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in potash, has acquired a 66.6 percent stake in the club through his Monaco Sport Invest holding, the club said in a statement on Friday.

The remaining 33 percent of shares will continue to be held by the principality of Monaco, it said.

Rybolovlev, 45, was elected chairman of a newly formed board, the statement said.

"I do not consider this transaction simply as an acquisition, but as the beginning of a new effective partnership in the interests of the development of the Monaco Football Club," the statement quoted Rybolovlev as saying.

Prince Albert II of Monaco called the deal "a new page in the history of the football team so dear to the principality".

"The requirements of modern football create financial difficulties for many clubs, even those at the top level. It was thus inevitable that AS Monaco had to find a partner of prime standing in order to ensure its development," Albert was quoted as saying.

Rybolovlev has been referred to as Russia`s "potash king" and recently appeared as No. 79 of the Forbes list of the world`s wealthiest people.

IANS