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Chechen buyout for Neuchâtel football team

Chechen entrepreneur Bulat Chagaev has bought the top division Neuchâtel Xamax football club from president Sylvio Bernasconi for an undisclosed sum.

Former Russian player Andreï Rudakov has been named the new president following the sale, which will be confirmed during the club’s general assembly on May 12.

"Neuchâtel Xamax is happy to announce the takeover of the famous club by the businessman Bulat Chagaev," the twice Swiss champions said in a statement.

The value of the takeover has been kept confidential. Chagaev has promised to take the side into the Champions League.

"I'm very happy to lead Neuchâtel onto the path of national victory," he said.

"With a motivated and well-prepared team, we will quickly accept the most incredible challenges in Europe, starting with the Champions League."

Chagaev’s companies in Switzerland are involved in finance, real estate and commodities trading. He is also one of the main financial backers of Terek Grozny in the Russian Premier League.

In an interview with Swiss television, Chagaev confirmed he was close to   controversial Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, accused by non-governmental organisations of human rights abuses.

Neuchâtel were formed in 1970 by the merger of two clubs and the team have won the Swiss championship twice, in 1987 and 1988. The team, eighth in the ten-team Swiss Super League, are still involved in the fight against relegation this season.

They have, however, reached the Swiss Cup final where they will face Sion on May 29.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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