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Discussion Starter #1
Vladimir Nikolayevich Romanov (Владимир Николаевич Романов); born 1947 in Tver Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR)[1] is an ethnic Russian businessman who also holds Lithuanian citizenship following that country's independence from the Soviet Union. He is chairman of UBIG Investments which is the majority shareholder in Scottish Premier League football club Hearts and Lithuanian Basketball League club Žalgiris.[2][3] He also controls the Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas and the Belarusian Premier League club FC MTZ-RIPO. Romanov's principal business interest is a substantial stake in the Lithuanian bank Ūkio bankas.

Life outside football
The Soviet submarine K-19. Romanov served on board during the Cold War and bought the decommissioned vessel in 2006.Romanov spent his early childhood in Tver Oblast,[1] before moving with his family to Lithuania at the age of nine.[1] His father had served in the Red Army[1] and fought in the Battle of Berlin,[1] but died when Romanov was just 16.[1] This meant that Romanov was forced to support the rest of the family,[1] which he did by driving a taxi[1] and selling Western popular music,[1] including bootleg copies of records by The Beatles, Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones.[4] He then served in the Soviet Navy for six years,[1] including time aboard the K19 submarine.[5] Romanov later bought the submarine,[6] and invited his fellow crew members to the 2006 Scottish Cup Final.[7]

Even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Romanov had started to make money during the late 1980s through manufacturing.[1][4] His wealth greatly increased during the early 1990s after state enterprises were sold off to the highest bidder.[4] Romanov was amongst those who founded Ūkio bankas, which was the first private bank to be founded in Lithuania.[1] Romanov still has a substantial stake in the bank.[8] Through his private investment group UBIG,[8] Romanov has business interests including aluminium,[9] textiles,[1] property[1] and television.[10] These activities are carried out in Lithuania, Ukraine,[4] Bosnia and Herzegovina,[4] Belarus,[9] Russia[4] and Serbia.[11] His wealth has been variously estimated at £260M,[4] £300M,[1] and £200M in the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List.[12]

In 2007 Romanov won a Lithuanian version of Dancing with the Stars, which is the equivalent of the British show Strictly Come Dancing.[13] He was paired with professional dance partner Sandra Kniazevičiūtė.[13] Romanov gave the prize money he won from winning the contest to Kniazevičiūtė.[13] Due to the purported lack of artistry in his dance moves and alleged forgery of voting results, Romanov was called Buratino (Lithuanian: Buratinas) by the show host Arūnas Valinskas, a nickname he is now being referred to by his critics in Lithuania.

[edit] Ownership of HeartsMain article: Vladimir Romanov's ownership of Heart of Midlothian F.C.
Hearts, like many other Scottish Premier League clubs, ran into severe financial difficulties during the early part of the 2000s. An assessment by PWC in the autumn of 2003 found that Hearts, along with four other SPL clubs, was technically insolvent.[14] Dundee and Livingston subsequently went into administration,[15][16] while Hibs and Dunfermline both took drastic measures to balance their finances, cutting their player budgets severely[17][18] and selling assets.[19] Vladimir Romanov had shown interest in investing in Scottish football for some time because he wanted to see whether Lithuanian footballers could prosper abroad.[20] Scottish football clubs were particularly ripe for takeover due to their weak finances and corporate structures.[21] He made approaches to Dundee United,[4] Dundee[4] and Dunfermline,[4] but these were all rejected.[4] He opened negotiations with the board of directors to invest in Hearts during August 2004.[20] Romanov offered the prospect of the club staying at a redeveloped Tynecastle,[20][22] which was very attractive to Hearts supporters.[23] Board chairman George Foulkes pleaded that the shareholders should not scare Romanov away by demanding too much for their shares.[24]

Chief executive Chris Robinson, who had been the chief proponent of the necessity of selling Tynecastle, agreed at the end of September 2004 to sell his 19.6% stake to Romanov.[25] The sale of Robinson's shares was completed on 2 February 2005[26] after Romanov made financial guarantees that the club could continue to trade without selling Tynecastle.[27] This sale increased Romanov's stake to 29.9%,[26] giving him effective control of the club.[26] Romanov's takeover was welcomed by a fans representative.[26] Romanov eventually increased his majority share in Hearts to 82%.[28]

Hearts got off to a tremendous start in the 2005–06 season. The team won their first eight league matches under the leadership of George Burley,[29] equalling a club record set in 1914.[29] Despite the great start to the season, Burley was controversially sacked, leading the club to a political, social, and national decline that has yet to be addressed. The club has yet to come anywhere near the short-lived success of Burley. Romanov has been noted for causing controversies in Scottish football,[30][31] such as forcing out Steven Pressley.[32]

[edit] Ownership of Žalgiris KaunasRomanov is the owner of the Lithuanian Premier League basketball club and Euroleague participant BC Žalgiris since May 2009, through Lithuanian bank Ūkio bankas.[2][3] He made numerous controversial decisions including sacking head coaches one by one, most famously firing head coach Darius Maskoliūnas in the middle of LKL finals series, players had to draw their own tactic schemes and making substitutions, which resulted in losses to the rivals Lietuvos Rytas in decisive games. Before 2010–11 season started, Zalgiris have purchased several high profile players and a new head coach. In the first half of the season Zalgiris was consistent, which led to impressive victories in all tournaments. After a positive start that hadn't been seen for years, Vladimir Romanov once again shocked the entire country by firing head coach Aco Petrovic, which resulted in a series of losses and Mirza Begić's decision to leave the team. During the 2011–12 season, Romanov fired two other Žalgiris coaches – head coach Elias Zouros and his assistant coach.[33]

[edit] PoliticsOn 12 March 2009, Romanov announced that he intended to stand for election to become President of Lithuania. The Lithuanian electoral commission then advised Romanov that he is ineligible for that office because he was born in Russia

157 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Romanov: I'm selling Hearts and quitting football

RIA Novosti

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov confirmed to RIA Novosti on Thursday that he is selling the club and quitting football entirely, ending weeks of speculation on the future of the Tynecastle club.

The Russian-born Lithuanian said he has begun the hunt for potential buyers of the Scottish Premier League side, who are thought to be 35 million pounds in debt.

“I want to leave football. I have given the order to find buyers for all my clubs,” Romanov told RIA Novosti. Romanov has had a stormy tenure since arriving in Edinburgh in 2005, earning a hire-them-and-fire-them reputation for going through eight managers in six years.

“I want to buy a theater and sell the clubs,” he said. “Hearts is controlled by Murdoch’s media mafia,” he said in reference to Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp., which controls Sky television, the sport’s top broadcast rights holder.

Romanov is also a majority shareholder of Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas and Belarusian club Partizan Minsk. It was not clear which theater Romanov was interested in buying.

Romanov earlier this month complained that the media were undermining the club and threatened to sell if no investors could be found to pump in extra funds. The club’s directors responded in a statement that “Romanov has confirmed that he will stand by the club and continue to support it.”

The news comes a day after Hearts announced their players would not be paid on time due to the financial difficulties. They said in a statement they were trying to “obtain funding” to make the payments.

Romanov, who made his fortune in manufacturing and banking, bought Hearts with the aim of blooding young talent from Lithuania and splitting the Old Firm dominance of Glasgow Rangers and Celtic. His net worth is reported to stand at 200 million pounds.

The closest he came was in 2006, when Hearts finished runner-up to champions Celtic and Rangers came third.

157 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hearts chief Romanov warns new Monaco owner of 'football mafia'

RIA Novosti. 23/12/2011
Related News
Russian billionaire buys Monaco football club
Romanov puts 50 million pound price tag on Hearts
Romanov: I’m selling Hearts and quitting football

Vladimir Romanov, the owner of Scottish side Hearts, has warned his compatriot Dmitry Rybolovlev that dealings with the "football mafia" await him in his new capacity as majority shareholder of French Ligue 2 club AS Monaco.

Long-time Monaco resident Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in potash, on Friday acquired a 66.6 percent stake in the struggling French club through his Monaco Sport Invest (MSI) holding.

"A battle with the football mafia awaits Rybolovlev," Romanov told RIA Novosti in a telephone interview. "He won't get anything other than a negative image, and the results expected of him will be as if he were a player himself."

Romanov has been left embittered by his forray into football ownership and is looking to sell Hearts for 50 million pounds, despite their estimated 35 million pound debt.

Romanov has accused Britain's "media mafia" of undermining his work at Hearts.

Rybolovlev, 45, has has committed to investing at least 100 million euros in Monaco over the next four years in their quest to return to the upper echelons of the European game.

They currently languish at the bottom of the French second tier with 13 points from 18 games.

157 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Vladimir Romanov claims players and SPL knew Hearts wages would be paid

STV/05 January 2012 15:59 GMT

Hearts owner criticises governing body, players and media ,saying it was common knowledge that late salaries would be settled

Vladimir Romanov has claimed that Hearts players and the Scottish Premier League knew that late salary payments were dependent on transfer money being received by the club.

The SPL ordered Hearts to pay outstanding December salaries within seven days after a hearing on Thursday held at the request of the club's first team players, who failed to receive wages on time for the third consecutive month.

The league also ordered Hearts to pay the cost of the hearing and to pay the players interest on the late payments of October, november and December salaries.

December's salaries were paid in full within hours of the SPL hearing with the club stating that the timing was "coincidental".

Now, Romanov has claimed that the players, and the SPL, were in full knowledge that the payments were to be settled.

"Everyone knew, including players, media and SPL that the wages are going to be paid as soon as the money was received for Eggert Jonsson, who was sold last year," Romanov said.

"But media still tried to create conspiracy plots about the team and managed to get a prompt and unwise decision from the SPL meeting, which the club asked it to postpone until next week in order to get opportunity to pay the wages.

"As such I have not cheated anyone."

Romanov reiterated his intention to sell the club and insisted he will not be committing any more funds, instead encouraging the club to develop youth players

157 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Romanov/Lithuania Federation

Lithuanian football feels the chill and Hearts fans know the feelingVladimir Romanov is too busy with the chaos at home to meddle at Tynecastle

The Guardian. 26 march 2009

It is entirely apt that temperatures as low as minus eight degrees have plunged Lithuania's World Cup qualifier against France on Saturday in doubt. The very fabric of the nation's football, after all, has disintegrated into a state of flux.

Hearts supporters relieved that their colourful owner, Vladimir Romanov, has refrained from nonsensical rants in recent times and, apparently, interference in team selection may have a degree of sympathy for their comrades in the eastern bloc.

Unless a serious amount of making up is done during a meeting of the Lithuanian Football Federation tomorrow, FBK Kaunas, the team subsidised by Romanov's banking business, will opt not to play in their country's top flight next season. As it stands, Kaunas will feature in lower division football and the Federations Cup, the latter tournament offering a potential route to the Europa League.

While Romanov has been quiet regarding matters in Edinburgh, he has been anything but in his adopted homeland. The source of his ire stems from referees and the appointment of them for the Lithuanian A League.

Proposals from the businessman – who has vociferously stressed his personal contributions to football in Lithuania, not least in sourcing coaches – that the association of clubs should appoint match officials were rejected by the federation. Matters came to a spectacular head at a meeting on 6 March at which Romanov, unannounced, turned up seeking change in the game.

"We did not want to turn the meeting into a boxing ring," said Liutauras Varanavicius, the federation president. As Romanov warned Kaunas could "shrink" from Lithuanian football, amid what he regards as "intrigue and hypocrisy", Varanavicius resigned his post as chairman of an advisory board to Ukio Bankas, a Romanov business. "It was a choice between the bank and football, I chose football," he said, citing constant criticism on football matters from Romanov as motivation behind a parting of the ways.

Romanov, in turn, has indeed overseen the shrinking of Kaunas while disputing his former close ally jumped rather than being pushed.

"We are pulling out of the A League because some things in the past year have shown it does not comply with sporting principles," Kaunas president Gintaras Ugianskis said. Ugianskis, incidentally, is also president of the body Romanov wants to see selecting match officials.

Fuelling the theory that those who work with, or have worked with Romanov in the past, retain some fear of the tycoon, Varanavicius firmly states "next question" when pressed on exactly from what these refereeing gripes stem.

"In no other country would the clubs pick the referees," he added. "We have accepted 90% of Mr Romanov's proposals for the league. We are all having a week to think about things and are hopeful there will be compromise."

This week, Varanavicius is in Copenhagen seeking election to the Uefa board, but faces troubles closer to home. While Kaunas are not the most historically significant club in Lithuanian football — Zalgris Vilnius are, but more of them later — their recent success is striking. They have been champions eight times in the past decade; is it significant that they were beaten into second place last season by FK Ekranas?

Kaunas were granted a licence to allow them to play professionally in the coming season — which is due to start on 5 April — only when they belatedly submitted audit reports. Their two most highly-paid foreign players, Pascal Mendy and Rafael Ledesma, have since been freed; the latter intriguingly joining Belarussian outfit MTZ Ripo, a team sponsored by Romanov companies.

Atlantas, another club believed to be funded by Romanov, have withdrawn from the A League. Only five teams, in truth, remain confirmed starters in what is routinely an eight-team division; poor crowds contribute heavily to harsh financial realities.

The troubles of Vilnius are straightforward; they seem destined for bankruptcy with their Ferrari-driving owner, Vadim Kastujev, currently in a Moscow jail facing bribery charges. "There are potential investors looking at the club," insisted Varanavicius, optimistically. "We are spending this time checking, club by club, who can compete in the top division in the new season."

As uncertainty clouds Lithuanian football, onlookers are left to wonder what Romanov will do next. With no local front-line club at which to showcase their talents, will more Lithuanian players arrive at Hearts in the coming months, or will the man who has claimed he wants to be the president of the entire country simply leave their football behind altogether? Whether that would create many shockwaves in what is a basketball-obsessed country is open to debate.

Romanov's plans to re-build the dilapidated national stadium, the Darius and Girenas in Kaunas, have failed to get off the ground. Whether that project will ever come to fruition, given the 62-year-old's apparent anger and antipathy towards Lithuanian football, remains to be seen.

So too does the effect this bitter row will have on the domestic season
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