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Schalke remove Gazprom from kits

FC Schalke 04 is drawing the first conclusions from Russia's attack on Ukraine and is no longer advertising the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom on its shirts. As the club announced on Thursday (February 24th, 2022), "in view of the events, developments and escalation of the past few days", the lettering of the Russian main sponsor will be removed from the jersey in the coming games.

This was the result of talks with the German subsidiary "Gazprom Germania". Instead, "Schalke 04" will simply be emblazoned on the jerseys.

Grammozis' sweater at press conference without Gazprom logo

Even at the Schalke press conference on Thursday before the game at Karlsruher SC (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.), the Gazprom logo was missing from S04 coach Dimitrios Grammozis' pullover. But it was still visible on the sponsor wall in the background.

Vital Gazprom millions for Schalke

Like many other sports clubs, associations and competitions, Schalke is dependent on the money of a Russian company. The contract with "Gazprom Germania" runs until 2025. The partnership was initiated in 2007 by the then head of the supervisory board, Clemens Tönnies, who describes himself as a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the 2nd Bundesliga, nine million euros are said to flow from the Russian gas supplier annually, with promotion the sum would probably increase to 15 million euros per season. S04 is still sticking to the partnership, the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We were also shocked by the pictures that are happening there," said press spokesman Marc Siekmann on Thursday: "But I have to ask for your understanding that the whole thing took a new turn on Thursday morning and we need time to do that advise and see what that means for Schalke 04."

Club bosses are working on a solution with Gazprom

In any case, Schalke CEO Bernd Schröder and Supervisory Board Chairman Axel Hefer made it clear that they are working hard to find a solution with Gazprom. The disappearance of the Gazprom lettering from the jerseys, which was announced shortly afterwards, was probably the first step in a separation.

There are many legal questions to be clarified in this matter, which probably also revolve around possible contractual penalties. Will Schalke possibly have to repay financial contributions that have already been received?

Supervisory Board Warnig retires after US sanctions

Earlier on Thursday, Matthias Warnig had resigned from his S04 supervisory board mandate. He is CEO of Nord Stream 2 and is under US sanctions in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

The United States Department of Treasury put him on its sanctioned list on Wednesday (local time). The individuals on this US sanctions list are referred to as "Specially Designated Nationals". Their accounts and assets are frozen and US citizens are generally prohibited from doing business with them.

Gazprom and Co. – Warnig rooted in the Russian economy

As a result, Warnig resigned his mandate as S04 supervisory board “with immediate effect” on Thursday morning, as the club from the Ruhr area announced. The 66-year-old had been a member of the committee since July 2019 as a co-opted member, sent by the Russian main sponsor Gazprom. In addition to the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG (since 2006 managing director), Warnig is also involved in other Russian commercial companies.

Warnig personally associated with Putin

Ex-S04 supervisory board member Warnig is considered a close confidant of Putin, who awarded him the "Russian Order of Honor" in 2012. In an interview with "Wirtschaftswoche" three and a half years ago, Warnig revealed: "There is an unfiltered exchange of views between the two of us."

Like Putin, the 66-year-old has a secret service past and worked in the GDR as a Stasi agent for the state apparatus. Before the reunification of Germany he had risen to become a captain in the espionage department.

Source: wdr.de

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