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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Coach Says Unexim to Buy CSKA

COMBINED REPORTS


Russian sports club CSKA Moscow is close to signing a partnership agreement with one of the country's biggest banks which would save the army club from bankruptcy, a club official said Tuesday.


Alexander Gomelsky, a longtime CSKA head coach who still holds official positions with the club, said that Uneximbank had offered to buy CSKA's basketball and hockey teams from the defense ministry. He gave no financial details.


A Uneximbank spokesman confirmed negotiations were going on but said no agreement had yet been reached.


"At the moment, CSKA is Russia's flagship team not only in basketball but in other sports as well," said Gomelsky, a veteran coach who guided the former Soviet Union men's team to an Olympic gold medal in 1988.


"If we lose CSKA we lose Russian basketball."


The club, which has been unable to find a major sponsor for the last two years, has not paid its players since January. According to a recent report on Russian television station NTV, the club owes $700,000 in salary payments.


CSKA players had threatened to go on strike but agreed to wait at least a few more weeks for a settlement and will play their EuroLeague game against Limoges in France on Thursday.


CSKA has had other suitors as well, more recently in the form of Belarussian millionaire Grigory Ostrovsky. Now living in Canada, Ostrovsky made an opening gesture of goodwill when he paid an undisclosed bonus for CSKA's previous Euroleague win over Real Madrid of Spain.


American businessman Chuck Salisbury, who signed a 25-year ownership agreement with the team two months ago, claimed recently he is still in the picture despite comments by one CSKA official that he had failed to make any payments.