The astonishing attack on multi billionaire oilman Abramovich was launched by the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzkhov.

 

He took over the glamorous London-based club Chelsea for $100 million in early July, saying he bought it "for fun", but it did not please MayorLuzkhov, one of Russia's most prominent politicians.

   

"They spat on Russia, by buying Chelsea," Luzhkov, an avid amateur soccer player, told a gathering of the city government.

 

Abandoned

   

"In buying Chelsea for such a huge amount of money, they abandoned our Russian teams, which needed support," radio station Ekho Moskvy quoted him as saying.

   

Former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, now head of Russia's auditing chamber, has also criticised Abramovich's purchase of Chelsea as unpatriotic.

 

"They spat on Russia, by buying Chelsea."

- Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzkhov

Abramovich, 36, has already spent an extra $60 million on buying four players in the transfer market, and soccer pundits speculate endlessly over who else will join "Roman's army".

   

But a spokesman for oil company Sibneft of which Abramovich owns about half, said the tycoon carefully considered Russian teams before investing abroad.

   

"He looked at several Russian teams over the last couple of years, but there were no deals available that met his requirements," said John Mann.