Moscow - (Ass Messki): Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has pledged £20 million to finance a new facility for detoxification of his country's national football team in a deal sponsored by the Bloodyvostock Vodka Company.
The landmark deal should mean that the players may at last be sober in time for the 2010 World Cup, although no guarantees are being given at this stage.
The press has regularly criticised Russia's national team as a serial under-performer and blamed poor co-ordination, lack of dribbling skills, intermittent bouts of over-confidence and a tendency to start fist-fights with referees as the main cause of their haphazard luck.
And in a parallel development the Irish Football Association has pledged 5000 euros to finance the George Best Memorial Professorship of Detoxification Studies at the country's new Sports Research Foundation which has just been set up in the town of Shergar, County Louse.
The sinecure is payable in cash on an annual basis or can be exchanged for tokens redeemable at any reputable hostelry within the Republic.