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visa

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been granted Israeli citizenship after delays in the renewal of his UK visa, which some view as part of a crackdown on wealthy Russians.

Abramovich, who is worth an estimated £8.6 billion ($11.4 billion), exercised his right under Israel’s Law of Return, which allows Jews from anywhere in the world to gain Israeli citizenship.

Incidentally, with his new citizenship, Abramovich has instantly become Israel’s richest person and perhaps he’ll find it easier to get back into the UK as an Israeli citizen.

Unlike the Russians, the Israelis do get a visa-free stay in the UK for up to six months straight, but it’s not clear if the decision on the Tier 1 investor visa that he needs is actually affected by the citizenship of the applicant.

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FIFA’s main sponsors have praised outbound FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign.

The 79-year old announced his decision earlier today, amidst a huge corruption investigation which saw seven officials arrested last Wednesday. Two of those were FIFA Vice-Presidents.

Blatter was elected for a fifth term as President on Friday, but was immediately hit by calls to resign and admitted today that football’s governing body needed “profound restructuring.”

FIFA has five main sponsors, as well as two World Cup sponsors. These are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Hyundai, Gazprom, Budweiser and McDonalds.

Immediately after the arrests, the sponsors stated that they expected change throughout the whole organisation.

Visa and Coca-Cola repeated this in their statement following Blatter’s resignation.

Visa, who became a top-tier sponsor in 2007, said it was encouraged “by the recognition by FIFA that extensive and fundamental reform is needed as reflected by the announcement that President Blatter is resigning.

“This is a significant first step towards rebuilding public trust, but more work lies ahead.

“We repeat, however, that it is our expectation that FIFA will take swift and immediate steps towards addressing the issues within its organisation to quickly rebuild a culture with strong ethical practices that will restore the reputation of the games for fans around the world.

Coca-Cola, one of FIFA’s longest-standing corporate partners, echoed this feeling, describing the move as “a positive step,” but added that it expected FIFA to “act with urgency” and “win back the trust of all who love the sport of football.”

“We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st Century structure and institution.”

Budweiser, Adidas and McDonald’s all issued broadly positive statements:

“We expect today’s announcement to accelerate FIFA’s efforts to resolve internal issues, install positive change and adhere to the highest ethical standards and transparency,” said Budweiser.

Adidas said the decision represented “a step in the right direction on FIFA’s path to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.”

McDonald’s said it was “hopeful” that the changes being implemented would lead to FIFA being reformed and “gaining back trust from fans worldwide.”

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