Update – Following recent developments, FC Schalke 04 have decided to remove the logo of main sponsor GAZPROM from the club’s shirts. It will be replaced by lettering reading ‘Schalke 04’ instead.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has had its impact on even the footballing world with Britain and other European nations calling to shift the Champions League final from its current venue at St. Petersburg.
German side FC Schalke 04 have also under fire for their longstanding shirt sponsorship with Russian multinational energy corporation, Gazprom.
In response, the club released a statement relaying that they would monitor the situation and also reiterated their commitment to peaceful coexistence.
However, the German press took matters into their own hands as newspaper BILD blocked out the sponsor’s name replacing it with “Freedom for Ukraine” slogans in the latest editions of the paper.
German newspaper BILD have covered up pictures of Schalke’s shirt sponsor Gazprom (the Russian company who’ve been partners since 2007) with the words “Freedom for Ukraine”. pic.twitter.com/UZ5o1e7TBj— Phil Delves (@phildelves) February 23, 2022
The newspaper initially received plaudits from the footballing community for their bold and quick response to the development and for their attempt at severing the evolving crisis’ ties with football at this early stage.
However, with the same rapid speed, the action has come under scrutiny as well after fans have discovered and shared images that show the BILD website continuing to sell Schalke shirts with the Russian sponsor’s title still intact.
Links: @BILD will Schalkes Trikot-Sponsor Gazprom (“Putins Werbung”) in der eigenen Berichterstattung künftig mit “FREIHEIT für die UKRAINE” überkleben.— BILDblog (@BILDblog) February 23, 2022
Rechts: @BILD will mit dem Verkauf von Schalke-Gazprom-Trikots weiter Geld verdienen.
Mehr dazu hier: https://t.co/lG2zAVOUAi pic.twitter.com/cStdleRGmV
The newspaper continues to face backlash for the hypocritic behaviour in light of this recent expose. There has been no comment or statement yet from the German newspaper regarding this latest revelation.
BILD director Walter Straten was right in stating that footballing cannot stand watching as one nation declares war. However, his words have lost the sense of meaning they carried following the exposure of the money-grabbing mentality behind the scenes.