Telecommunications firm Three have confirmed that they are suspending their £40m a year shirt sponsorship deal with Chelsea following sanctions imposed on Blues owner Roman Abramovich, the Mirror reports.
Abramovich has had his assets frozen in the UK in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, although he continues to deny any links to president Vladimir Putin.
Three’s logo will now be removed from Chelsea shirts and from advertising boards around Stamford Bridge with immediate effect and until further notice.
Chelsea have been given a sporting licence to continue playing and trading despite the move, although the measures will put a block on Abramovich’s proposed sale of the club.
Three have been Chelsea’s main shirt sponsor since the start of the 2020-21 season.
A spokesperson for Three has said: “In light of the government’s recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our partnership of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.
“We recognise 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.
“As a mobile network, the best way we can support the people of Ukraine is to ensure refugees arriving in the UK from the conflict and customers currently in Ukraine can stay connected to the people who matter to them. Therefore, we are offering connectivity packages to all Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and those in Ukraine.“
Meanwhile a statement from Hyundai, Chelsea’s shirt sleeve sponsor, said on Thursday afternoon: “Hyundai has become one of the strongest partners in football over the years & the company supports the sport to be a force for good.
“We are currently assessing the situation with Chelsea FC.”
Chelsea’s deal with Hyundai is worth £10million per year.
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