Things have gone from bad to worse at Chelsea. The club’s shirt sponsor, the telecom brand, Three, has ended its £40 million deal with the Blues after the UK Government sanctioned the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich.
Of the decision, Three had the following to say:
“We recognize that this decision will impact the many Chelsea fans who follow their team passionately. However, we feel that given the circumstances, and the Government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do.”
In addition, Three have asked for the removal of their brand from all Chelsea merchandise:
“In light of the government’s recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.”
Abramovich will be subject to an asset freeze and travel ban, under the terms of the sanction, which was announced by Prime minister Boris Johnson, this morning.
The news has immediately thrown Chelsea’s future– including the club’s extensive sponsorship arrangements – into doubt.
Last year. Chelsea made £154M from commercial deals despite the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, before Covid struck, the club earned £200M in sponsorship.
Analysts are warning other sponsors will quickly follow Three and review their involvement with the club, hoping to avoid ‘guilt by association’ with a Russian oligarch accused of making financial gain from his relationship with President Vladimir Putin.