GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — The logo of Russian energy giant Gazprom is removed from the shirts of German soccer team Schalke following Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
Schalke said the logo will be replaced with lettering reading “Schalke 04” instead following what it called “recent developments”.
A senior Gazprom executive had already quit Schalke’s supervisory board earlier on Thursday after being the target of US sanctions.
Matthias Warnig is the CEO of the newly built but never operated Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is a multi-billion dollar project by Gazprom and European companies.
Schalke, based in Gelsenkirchen, said Warnig had informed the board that he would step down from his post with immediate effect after two years as a representative of main sponsor Gazprom.
German newspaper Bild this week began covering Gazprom logos on Schalke shirts with “Freedom for Ukraine” in protest at Russia’s intensified military intervention in Ukraine.
Gazprom has been providing sponsorship funds to Schalke, which were relegated to the second division last year, since 2006 with a deal announced the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for a state visit to Germany.
Gazprom’s brand image had even greater visibility this week in European football thanks to its Champions League sponsorship. His logos flashed on the pitch during the Round of 16 and featured on UEFA broadcasts.
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