Chelsea FC Loses Parimatch Sponsorship
Parimatch has announced that it will withdraw its sponsorship of the English Premier League’s Chelsea FC
The move followed the European Union’s decision on Tuesday to impose sanctions on the team’s owner, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.
“After considering the situation, we have decided to pause all joint marketing and brand campaigns with the club featuring the Parimatch logo and brand,” the company said in a statement.
In early March, the company announced it would donate US$1 million to Ukraine’s military. It also pulled its services out of Russia, one of its biggest markets.
More than it meets the eyes
Parimatch was founded originally in Kyiv in 1994 and is now headquartered in Cyprus. The three-year official partnership with Chelsea started back in August 2021 until now.
But Parimatch is only the latest sponsor to walk away from Chelsea because of its controversial owner’s links to the Kremlin.
Last week, the team’s main sponsor, the mobile network Three, tore up their agreement in the aftermath of the UK sanctions imposed on Abramovich, effectively freezing his assets.
Abramovich made his billions after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His political connections helped him secure and buy up state-owned assets at knockdown prices.
The EU said Tuesday that he had “long and close ties to Vladimir Putin,” adding that he had “privileged access to the president and has maintained very good relations with him.”
These sanctions will leave Chelsea unable to sign new players, renew existing contracts, and even sell match tickets or merchandise until a proper buyer is found. It is an extraordinary situation for the club, and it affects not only the team but everyone involved with them.
Champions for Sale
With this impasse about the club, Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale for £3 billion (US$3.95 billion) shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, anticipating he would be targeted with sanctions when the conflict started.
But the asset freeze means Abramovich can only sell the club if he does not profit from the sale. However, he previously claimed that any proceeds from the sale would go to “all victims of the war in Ukraine.” This remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, more than 200 prospective buyers are queuing to get their hands on one of the world’s elite football teams. Prospectors include a consortium led by Ted Boehly, co-owner of MLB’s LA Dodgers, the NBA’s LA Lakers, the WNBA’s LA Sparks and a big chunk of DraftKings.com, which already allegedly submitted a bid summing up some £2bn.
The next in line is the billionaire Woody Johnson, owner of the NFL’s New York Jets and the ambassador to the UK under Trump. Followed by the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, and confirmed the interest in bidding.
The future is uncertain, but we expect to see these conflicts being resolved soon, for the sake of us all.
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