SOCHI, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s gas company Gazprom has become an official partner of competitions organised and held by FIFA (International Federation of Association Football).
The relevant agreement was signed by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and FIFA President Joseph Blatter in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Saturday, September 14, in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko.
The document gives Gazprom the status of official partner of FIFA competitions, including World Cup 2018, the final games of which will be played in Russia.
“We have discussed for a long time, or rather you [Blatter] have discussed with Gazprom, one of our leading companies, how you can work together, not only in the light of World Cup preparations, but generally with FIFA support. The work you do is undoubtedly very important. I would even call it noble, because unlike many other associations that simply proclaim nice and well-intentioned goals, you actually work to achieve them and realise them. This has simply no precedent in humanitarian spheres and is of great value,” Putin said at the signing ceremony, addressing the audience and Blatter specifically.
Blatter said it was “a great honour for me that you are with us today as we conclude a cooperation agreement with our new partner, Gazprom. It’s a great honour for us, it’s an honour for football, and it’s an honour for the forthcoming World Cup.”
He said FIFA and Gazprom had signed not a sponsorship agreement, but a partnership one. “We are aware of the many humanitarian and social projects that this Russian company has implemented. I am convinced that this is a good partnership that will not only help World Cup preparations, but also serve us well afterwards,” he said.
Mutko said that Gazprom had implemented a great many social projects in Russia and elsewhere and recalled just one titled Gazprom for Children, which had financed thousands of sports centres, sports grounds, fields and swimming pools. “I think this is important because we are implementing a large project together in the lead-up to the World Cup. It is a major project which will be implemented in 11 Russian cities. We are building 12 stadiums and 64 sports training complexes. Of course, the company’s support for this project as a whole and for football in particular is very important to us,” the minister said.
MiIler noted that Gazprom was a leader in the global energy market, and so its standings as partners were compatible. “The most important thing is the opportunities that Gazprom will receive. Under this agreement, we obtain the rights to certain categories of goods: oil, diesel and gas, and the extraction, processing and marketing of these products. We have rights for advertising these products in FIFA stadiums during competitions that will take place over the next four years, from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2018,” he said.
He said the agreement would allow Gazprom to use the FIFA trademark and the phrase “official FIFA sponsor” in its advertisements.
Miller spoke of new initiatives within the framework of Gazprom for Children. “I think that first of all we will provide our younger athletes, the younger generation with the opportunity to come in contact with and to see the World Cup,” he said.
After the signing ceremony Putin and Blatter spoke with young athletes and participants in the social project Football for Friendship from cities taking part in the 2018 World Cup.