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German soccer team removes Russian energy ad from jerseys in response to invasion of Ukraine

Schalke 04 Gazprom Sponsorship
Posted at 10:33 AM, Feb 24, 2022

A popular German soccer club says it is removing an advertisement for a Russian state-owned energy company from its uniforms in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

FC Schalke 04 tweeted Thursday that it will remove the logo of Russian gas company Gazprom from their jerseys. The team added that it would replace the ad with their team name instead.

For soccer teams, uniform advertisements are an important stream of revenue. Clubs often charge companies millions of dollars annually in exchange for displaying a company logo on their shirt.

The Football Kit Archive reports that Schalke has worn a Gazprom ad on their shirts dating back to the 2007-08 season.

While Schalke was recently relegated to Germany's second-tier league, it has won seven German championships. It also won the prestigious UEFA Cup championship in 1997.

According to The Economist, Gazprom is the world's largest gas producer and is mostly owned by the Russian state.

The firm also owned a company that was producing Nord Stream 2, a major pipeline slated to send fuel from Russia to Germany. However, Germany canceled the project this week as Russia advanced troops into Ukrainian territory.

NPR reports that Gazprom is one of eight "major global sponsors" of the UEFA Champions League — the world's most prestigious club soccer league. In a statement Thursday, UEFA said it "shares the international community's significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine."