TO MITTAL, WITH LOVE
Nobody has ever built a statue of a critic – or of a factory owner – who doesn't pay his workers on time.
Pramod Mittal, however, will have a three-metre, or 10 ft, high statue in Sofia – having done plenty to not deserve such a memorial. Just ask Kremikovtsi workers, for example. When he bought the factory in 2006, Mittal promised to make significant investments that would bring the plant in line with EU environmental standards. Somehow they never materialised. Kremikovtsi is now facing closure. Oh, and the workers didn't receive their salaries on time.
Footballers from the CSKA club aren't rushing to erect a monument in honour of Mittal, who used to own their team on the side, either. Their complaint isn't pay – they received huge salaries. UEFA threatened to throw the titan of Bulgarian football out of the Champions League due to dramatic debts and murky finances under Mittal's leadership.
Nevertheless, Mittal will get his monument in Sofia. Fans of Levski – CSKA's eternal enemy – already paid sculptor Stavri Kalinov part of the 300,000 leva fee for a bronze statue of the businessman. They plan on placing it in front of their National Fan Club and eventually adding all the stars from CSKA's Walk of Fame. The stars were put in front of the Bulgarian Army Stadium earlier in 2008 to mark CSKA's 60th anniversary. "This isn't a joke. We respect our opponents and want to preserve some memory of CSKA, because we're worried that the club may be closed down," explained Levski representatives. However, they shouldn't be too smug – the original idea for the Mittal statue wasn't theirs. Kalinov received the commission from Aleksandar Tomov, the former chairman of the CSKA board, back in the glory days when the team's financial troubles were known only to the board itself. Tomov had planned to send the statue to Mittal's London office, where it could serve as decoration.
Kalinov completed the statue but – surprise! – still hasn't got his money. Maybe that's because he supposedly took the Levski downpayment with pleasure.
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