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Gazprom denies talks on sponsorship deal altercations with UEFA

June 16, 16:25 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
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ST. PETERSBURG, June 16. /TASS/. Russian energy giant Gazprom did not have recently any talks on its sponsorship contract with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in light of the organization’s recent sanctions against the Russian Football Union (RFU), Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told TASS on Thursday.

UEFA announced on Tuesday its decision to fine the Russian Football Union (RFU) 150,000 euros ($168,200) over Russian football fans’ misconduct during their national team’s opening match of the 2016 Euro Cup against England last week.

Moreover, the European governing body of football issued a suspended disqualification for the Russian team, which means that the national squad would be disqualified from the major European football tournament in case of the repeated instance of Russian fans misconduct.

"There were no talks whatsoever about Gazprom cancelling its sponsorship of UEFA," Medvedev said in an interview with TASS. "However, our company is closely following the developments. We will see how this story will be resolved in the end. Perhaps, we will be drawing the conclusions afterwards."

Numerous clashes were reported between football fans at the major European football tournament, currently underway in France. Most notorious altercations erupted between Russian and English fans ahead of the June 11th match. Brawls began on Thursday in Marseille peaking at June 11th match.

Law enforcement resorted to tear gas, smoke pellets and water cannons to disperse the brawlers. Over 30 people were reported to be hurt in clashes, with four people hospitalized with serious injuries.

On Tuesday, French law enforcers stopped a bus with over 40 Russian football fans en-route from Marseille to Lille, where their national team played its second group stage match against Slovakia on Wednesday.

All of the Russian supporters from the bus were officially detained for 48-hour period and returned to Marseille, where they were investigated on the issue of their involvement in skirmishes with English hooligans.

According to the most recent media reports, a total of 20 Russian football fans were eventually ordered a deportation from France, while nine more were set free.

Gazprom’s football sponsorship

Gazprom is actively involved in the development of sports providing a wide-range sponsorship support to various clubs and organizations.

The Russian energy giant signed its sponsorship contract with UEFA’s Champions League in 2012 and extended it for three more years in 2015.

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.

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