Chechnya gives international football stars diamond watches

© RIA Novosti . Alexander Vilf  / Go to the photo bankRamzan Kadyrov and Diego Maradona
Ramzan Kadyrov and Diego Maradona  - Sputnik International
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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov gave a team of international football stars diamond-studded watches for taking part in a show game in the republic's capital, the Sports.fr website said on Monday.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov gave a team of international football stars diamond-studded watches for taking part in a show game in the republic's capital, the Sports.fr website said on Monday.

The all-star team, led by Argentina's Diego Maradona, played local Kavkaz (Caucasus) team during the opening ceremony of the Akhmad Kadyrov Sports Complex in the Chechen capital Grozny on Wednesday.

Sports.fr said football stars each received diamond-studded watches ranging in value from 12,000 to 70,000 euros ($17,000-$100,000).

The stars were also paid between 200,000 and one million euro ($285,000-$1.4 million) for taking part in the event, the website said.

French footballer Alain Boghossian denied the claims, saying that he took part in the match out of charity.

"I agreed to play in the match because I have Armenian roots and understand the situation in Chechnya," he said.

Kadyrov and presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Alexander Khloponin both played on the Kavkaz side, which won the game 5-2.

The match was Chechnya's second "show-game" this year. In March a team captained by Kadyrov played members of Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning squad. The region's sports minister said the matches were to provide an "impetus for the development" of this small southern Russia republic, which suffers from around 40 percent unemployment and a lingering Islamist insurgency.

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti)

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