Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich has donated a six-figure sum to the Israeli charity "Fulfilling Dreams," which together with other donations, has allowed 30 seriously ill Israeli children to attend the World Cup in Russia, CNN reports. Together with carers, 68 Israelis have been flown to Russia to watch three World Cup games.
"Mr. Abramovich is supporting 'Fulfilling Dreams' for the third major tournament, following the Brazil World Cup and France Euros, and we continue to be impressed by the selfless work Gilad (Fulfilling Dreams CEO Gilad Salter) and his team are doing," a spokesman for Abramovich told CNN.
"The fact that the World Cup is here in Russia this year makes it even more special, and we hope the kids take home some great memories."
"I'm having the time of my life," nine-year-old Polina Feldman, who suffers with cerebral palsy, told CNN. "I've never been abroad before, and football is my life."
The Israeli children saw Mexico defeat world champions Germany on Sunday and watched Senegal beat Poland yesterday and will round off their visit later today when Cristian Ronaldo's Portugal plays Morocco.
"I still can't believe I'm here," said Zidane Abu, 20, who also has cerebral palsy."Going to the World Cup was my greatest dream. All the people around are very kind, asking to take their photos with us, as like we're the stars."
CNN reports that Abramovich was made aware of the charity by his close friend, the former Chelsea manager Avram Grant.
Chelsea FC owner Abramovich reportedly immigrated to Israel last month after the British government did not renew his visa to enter the UK on his Russian passport. Gaining an Israeli visa will enable him to enter Britain without a visa although only as a tourist.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 20, 2018
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