Russian gas giant Gazprom‘s contract with UEFA is seriously in doubt after Russia attacked Ukraine with European football to decide next week.
UEFA’s executive committee had asked their lawyers at Friday’s emergency meeting to launch the process to terminate the contract.
The move would mean no Gazprom advertisement boards on display at stadia and no showing of television ads that have been in place since the lucrative agreement was signed in 2012.
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The deal is worth around £33.6m a season and there are two years still to run after a three-year extension signed last year.
UEFA has come under intense fire for the agreement. It is understood that pressure was applied by European Union officials, with whom the organisation has a close relationship, and following consultation with lawyers.
The situation was discussed at an emergency meeting of UEFA’s executive committee on Friday morning, at which the decision to switch the May 28 final from Russia to the Stade de France was also confirmed.
UEFA also announced matches in European competitions would not be hosted in either Ukraine or Russia as the conflict continues.
Gazprom have already suffered a blow this week when German club Schalke announced on Thursday they were removing their logo from their shirts.
UEFA had already stripped Saint Petersburg of hosting this season’s Champions League final on May 28 at the Gazprom Arena — awarding
it to Paris on Friday.
German club Schalke also sponsored by Gazprom, have removed the company’s name and logo from their shirts.
The news also comes after Manchester United cancelled their massive £40million sponsorship deal with another Russian company in airline Aeroflot.
However, Ukraine is still in a perilous position with Putin’s men now thought to be inside the city of Kyiv, though their exact location and number are unclear.
Ukrainian President Zelensky urged any European willing to defend the country to travel to Ukraine and join in the defence.
Ukrainian authorities used armoured vehicles and snowploughs to defend Kyiv and limit movement, and said Russian spies were seeking to infiltrate the city.
Russia’s military said it had seized a strategic airport outside Kyiv that would allow it to quickly build up forces to take the capital.