Siberian club saved after Putin intervention

MOSCOW - Russian Premier League side Tom Tomsk, faced with mounting debts, will not be forced to go out of business following some unexpected help from the government. Seven of the country's largest oil and energy companies would come to Tom's rescue after a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russian soccer chief Vitaly Mutko said on Monday. Tom, who owed almost 200 million roubles ($6.42 million) in back pay to their players and staff, had written to Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev asking them to intervene and save the Siberian club from bankruptcy. Tom said they needed around 400 million roubles to keep afloat. Mutko said the seven companies had agreed to give Tom 300 million roubles, with the rest coming from smaller regional businesses. Mutko warned other professional clubs not to expect government help. "It was a one-off deal and it should not be viewed as a precedent for others," he said. Tom captain Sergei Pareiko had presented Putin with the club's scarf for his role in the process, the Siberian club said on their website. The global financial crisis has hit many Russian professional clubs hard. Fellow Premier League strugglers Khimki were on the verge of liquidation last year before the Moscow regional government, their main backers, found the money to save them, while several second division clubs folded. Last week, second division side MVD Russia from the Moscow region became the latest club to pull out of the league.