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Invasion of Ukraine places question mark over Gazprom’s UEFA contract

Paris (AFP) – Russian gas giant Gazprom’s contract with UEFA is in the balance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with European football to make a decision next week, a source told AFP on Saturday.

The source confirmed stories in British newspapers The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Both reported that UEFA’s executive committee had asked their lawyers at Friday’s emergency meeting to launch the process to terminate the contract.

Gazprom — whose majority stakeholder is the Russian state — have been a key sponsor of UEFA since 2012, it is widely believed they pay around 40 million euros ($45 million) a year.

They sponsor European club football’s showpiece competition the Champions League and renewed the contract in May 2021 to run to 2024.

Russian football federation president Alexander Dyukov, boss of Gazprom Neft, the petrol branch of Gazprom, is a member of the UEFA’s executive committee.

UEFA had already stripped Saint Petersburg of hosting this season’s Champions League final on May 28 at the Gazprom Arena — awarding it to Paris on Friday. 

German club Schalke, also sponsored by Gazprom, have removed the company’s name and logo from their shirts.

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