Rinat Akhmetov: Richest owner in football

Every year Forbes releases its annual list of the world’s billionaires. Many of the people on the list of the rich and famous enjoy many luxuries including private jets, cars, yachts and lavish homes. Some of the richest go a bit further than thrilling toys; they pursue a true passion…sports. If you’re a big enough fan, and have the nearly unlimited funds, why not skip the box seats, valet parking and VIP service and just up and buy the team.

The world’s 39th richest person did just that. Ukrainian steel and mining tycoon, Rinat Akhmetov is the owner of FC Shakhtar Donesk. With a net worth of over $16 billion, Akhmetov earned his spot as the second richest owner in sports and the richest owner in football.

As a son of a coal miner, Akhmetov has come a long way, but is making his billions in a related area. By taking advantage of Ukraine’s private actions, he has been able to pick up five coal and energy outfits within the past year. These additional industries have helped him and his company, DTEK, control over 60% of energy and coal production in the Ukraine.  Needless to say, DTEK is the largest privately owned energy company in the Ukraine.

After acquiring FC Shakhtar Donesk, Akhmetov began investing heavily in the players and also the facilities. With this extra attention and support, the club’s status improved. Under his command they became: Premier League champions in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011; Domestic Cup champions in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2011; and Super-Cup champions in 2005, 2008 and 2010. They play in a $400 million stadium, Donbass Arena, which Akhmetov built in 2009. That year Shakhtar went on to win the UEFA Cup. More recently some of the 2012 UEFA Euro games were hosted in FC Shakhtar Donesk’s stadium.

Money may not be everything, but it sure does help win titles.

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