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ST. PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. Russian energy giant negotiates with the European Union of Football Associations (UEFA) a three-year extension of its sponsorship contract with the Champions League, Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov told TASS on Thursday.
Gazprom has been the official sponsor of the most prestigious European tournament of football clubs, the Champions League, since 2012 and the most recent sponsorship deal of the Russian energy giant with UEFA expired following the end of the current season.
"We have been in contract extension talks with UEFA for half a year," Kupriyanov said in an interview with TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). "We hope to sign a three-year contract in the nearest future."
Besides the Champions League, Gazprom is also the official sponsor of Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg FC, Germany’s Schalke 04 FC and Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) FC.
At the beginning of 2012/2013 season, the energy company added England’s Chelsea FC to its sponsorship folder as it inked a three-year collaboration as Official Worldwide Energy Partners of the 2012 UEFA Champions League winners, Chelsea.
Moreover, on September 14, 2013, Gazprom signed a contract with the international football federation FIFA. The Russian energy giant is an official FIFA partner from 2015 and throughout the FIFA World Cup 2018, which will be hosted by Russia.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over four years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.
Russia is already in its full-swing preparations for the Preliminary Draw, which is the first major kick-off event ahead of the global tournament itself.
The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition will be held on July 25 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg with a total of 208 nations having signed up for the participation in the event.