Kazakh Billionaire Lomtadze Buys Majority Stake in English Soccer Club

Kazakhstani billionaire Mikhail Lomtadze, co-founder of fintech and banking giant Kaspi.kz, has acquired a controlling stake in the English soccer club Wycombe Wanderers.

Following approval by the English Football League (EFL), he joins Eduard Vyshnyakov and Dan Rice as new members of Wanderers’ board of directors.

The club plays in England’s League One (third division) and as a 90% stakeholder, through his company Blue Ocean Partners II Limited,  Lomtadze plans to change its development strategy.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, he explained, “Our goal is to achieve long-term success both on and off the pitch, while creating a financially sustainable club. The soccer world is evolving very quickly and our priority will be to integrate data analytics and technology to take the club’s performance to the next level. I am also a firm believer in youth development and this will be fundamental to the vision of the club. We aim to reopen and build a leading high performance academy, which will be an important part of our long-term strategy to develop a club that consistently performs at the highest level.”

Whilst Wanderers fans are hopeful for positive changes, in Kazakhstan news of Lomtadze’s purchase was met with skepticism. Opinions shared on social media suggest that the online banking magnate’s investment would have been better placed in developing local sports.

With a fortune estimated at $5.7 billion, Lomtadze ranks fifth in the list of the richest businessmen in Kazakhstan, and in 581st place on the Forbes global list of billionaires.