German football club ends Gazprom partnership
German football club Schalke 04 has cut ties with its main sponsor Gazprom with immediate effect.
The decision was announced via a statement on Monday morning, which revealed the 2. Bundesliga team's managing board and supervisory board had reached an agreement to end the club's partnership with the Russian gas giant prematurely.
"The club are currently in discussions with representatives of the current sponsor and further information will be released at a later date," Schalke added.
"This decision does not affect the club’s financial capabilities. The club’s leadership are confident to be able to announce a new partner in the near future."
The partnership between #S04 and #GAZPROM will be ended early.Full details ⤵️— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) February 28, 2022
This latest development is an escalation from Schalke deciding to remove Gazprom's logo from their shirts in protest at the military operation launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Based in the Gelsenkirchen area of western Germany, Schalke were partners with the Russian company since 2007 but received pressure from national newspaper Bild to make a statement in reaction to what the outlet dubbed Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Furthermore, Bild also said that they would replace the Gazprom logo with a superimposed 'Freedom for Ukraine' image in future coverage of Schalke, who later announced that their shirts would now be emblazoned with 'Schalke 04' across their front.
Schalke 04 after removing Gazprom from their shirts. pic.twitter.com/e7qioG5653— Get German Football News (@GGFN_) February 26, 2022
"In view of the events, development and escalation of the past few days, FC Schalke 04 has decided to remove the lettering of its main sponsor - 'Gazprom' - from the jerseys," the club wrote in a short statement.
"This step follows discussions with GAZPROM Germania. Instead, 'Schalke 04' will be on the chest of the Royal Blues."
Schalke fulfilled their promise by wearing the newly-designed shirts during an away match with Karlsruher SC on Saturday, and also held a brief protest with the opposition before the 1-1 draw.
In the meantime, a UEFA ruling on Friday determined that St Petersburg's Krestovsky Stadium, also known as the Gazprom Arena for sponsorship purposes, will lose this year's Champions League final on May 28 which has now been moved to Paris' Stade de France.