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Ex-PM to gift Georgia $10M for win vs. Portugal

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Georgia‘s players are in line for an unexpected payday at Euro 2024 after a billionaire former prime minister promised to pay out more than $10 million following their surprise win over Portugal.

The Georgian team can double its money with another win over Spain on Sunday in the round of 16.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded the ruling Georgian Dream party and is now its honorary chairman, initially offered the payment of 30m Georgian lari ($10.7m) before the tournament on the condition that Georgia reached the knockout stages.

They did so after goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Georges Mikautadze gave Georgia a 2-0 win over a Portugal team led by Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday for one of the biggest shocks at any European Championship.

Ivanishvili confirmed the bonus in a statement carried by Imedi TV on Thursday and said that an equally large sum would be paid out to the team if Georgia beat Spain.

The statement said Ivanishvili “congratulates the Georgian football team on their greatest victory.”

Georgia are in a major international football tournament for the first time and were not widely expected to progress past the group stage in Germany.

Ivanishvili, 68, is a massive football fan and has been attending some of the team’s games in Germany. Ivanishvili, who is estimated to be worth $4.9 billion in 2023 by Forbes, also has French and Russian passports. One of his sons, Bera, is a famous rapper in Georgia.

Information from Julien Laurens contributed to this report.

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