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VTB to acquire 74% of Dynamo Moscow football club


MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-controlled VTB bank is to acquire 74% of Dynamo Moscow football club and 75% minus one share in the Dynamo management company in charge of rebuilding the club's Petrovsky Park stadium.

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Friday as part of a deal to convert Dynamo and the Dynamo management company's debts into shares.

VTB CEO Andrei Kostin said after the signing of the memorandum that the deal would be finalized by the end of the year.

The bank, Russia's second largest, recently pulled out of a sponsorship deal with 2005 UEFA Cup champions CSKA Moscow, citing the global economic crisis.

The reconstruction of the Dynamo stadium is estimated at 45 billion rubles ($1.3 bln), Kostin said, adding that the project should be completed within 5-7 years. Dynamo, one of three Russian teams due to take part in the 2009/2010 Champions League, currently share a stadium with Moscow Region side Khimki.

Dynamo Moscow's Petrovsky Park was built in the 1920s, and is the world's only constructivist-designed stadium. In 1941, it was used as a training centre for Soviet troops preparing to defend Moscow from Nazi attack.

The ground was also the subject of an untitled poem written by Soviet poet Lev Oshanin that was later used as a basis for the popular 1960s 'Football Song' and included the lines, "The whole of Moscow rides stubbornly to Dynamo, forgetting about the rain."

Kostin also said there was a preliminary agreement existed under which the stadium would be renamed the Yashin-VTB Arena once the reconstruction of the ground was completed. The club has promised to maintain the historic elements of the ground, including the facade.

Lev Yashin (1929-1990) is the only goalkeeper ever to have won the European Player of the Year Award. He spent his whole career, from 1949 to 1971, at Dynamo. The keeper, who wore all black when defending his goal, won world fame with his breathtaking performances in the 1966 World Cup in England, as the Soviet Union reached the semifinals.

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