Euro 2024: Georgia Oligarch To Award National Football Team $10m

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Georgia’s powerful oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili will award the country’s national football team $10 million after they made it to the last 16 of Euro 2024, his ruling party said Thursday.

Georgia’s 2-0 win over Portugal on Wednesday was a historic triumph in the Black Sea nation’s first appearance at a major international tournament.

Coached by Frenchman Willy Sagnol, the team qualified from Group F as one of the four best third-placed finishers and face a daunting clash with Spain, who won all their group games, on Sunday.

The ruling Georgian Dream party’s “honorary chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili will award Georgia’s football team 30 million lari ($10.7 million) for qualifying for the last 16 of Euro 2024,” the party said in a statement.

“An additional 30 million lari will be awarded in case of a win over Spain,” it added.

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Ivanishvili, the country’s richest man who made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s, is widely regarded as a puppet master pulling the strings of power from behind the scenes, despite not holding an official government position.

Last year, he was named Georgian Dream’s “honorary chairman,” a new role that formalises his right to select the ruling party’s nominee for prime minister.

His return to frontline politics in 2023 raised fears he is steering Tbilisi away from the national dream of joining the EU.

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