Three UK has suspended its sponsorship of Chelsea Football Club in the wake of the UK Government sanctions dished out to owner Roman Abramovich.
The sanctions, that were imposed on Thursday, mean Abramovich is currently unable to sell the club, though a special licence granted by the government is allowing Chelsea to keep operating.
Abramovich was hit with sanctions on Thursday morning by the UK government, with Chelsea protected by a government license. Described by the UK government as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch”, Abramovich has been sanctioned with an asset freeze and a travel ban.
A number of sponsors have said their deals with the club are under review. Now Three has confirmed it wants its logo removed from Chelsea’s shirts.
A Three spokesperson said:
“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.
“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.”
Chelsea still wore shirts with the Three logo on in their game against Norwich City on Thursday night.
Three has sponsored Chelsea since 2020. The agreement is set to run until the summer of 2023, and the deal with Chelsea is thought to be worth £40 million per year.