Russian-speaking soccer fans in Israel are being given a rare treat this week as four of the top teams from Russia and Ukraine are squaring off in a pre-season tournament at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.
Organizers are hoping to make the Russian Channel One Cup an annual event with more teams from the former Soviet Union and perhaps Israeli clubs joining as well down the line.
The tournament kicked off on Sunday with a press conference on the Azrieli Tower observation deck followed by the opening game between CSKA Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk. Several dozen fans of each team turned up at the stadium, a number that was nearly matched by the amount of reporters and VIPs.
More fans are expected for Monday's match pitting Ukrainian champion Dynamo Kiev against Spartak Moscow, a game that would have brought tens of thousands when the rivals met during the days of the old Soviet league.
Among those scheduled to attend is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who played a role in bringing the event to Israel.
On Wednesday, Shakhtar faces Spartak and CSKA meets Dynamo on Thursday. The winning team will pocket half of the $2 million in prize money.
CSKA will also take on Betar Jerusalem in a friendly game at Teddy Stadium on Tuesday.
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