UK Sportsbook Halts Chelsea FC Marketing Over Ukraine

Chelsea FC shirt

In support of Ukraine, sportsbook Parimatch is calling a timeout on all marketing at Chelsea FC, just days after the owner of the UK soccer franchise got sanctioned for ties to Vladimir Putin. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sportsbook calls timeout

Kyiv-founded Parimatch Tech is pausing its Parimatch sportsbook marketing campaigns with London soccer franchise Chelsea FC.

will instead promote humanitarian aid for war-stricken Ukraine

The vacated media space will instead promote humanitarian aid for war-stricken Ukraine, the online gambling and entertainment-facing tech and marketing giant announced Thursday.

Daily Mail chief soccer reporter Sami Mokbel took to Twitter to share news of Parimatch calling a Chelsea timeout:

According to The Suna Parimatch Tech statement said: “Together with our licensed partner in Great Britain, we have agreed to use the LED display systems at Stamford Bridge exclusively for the promotion of our volunteering and donation activities to help Ukraine, which Chelsea FC are supportive of. ”

The pausing of all Chelsea marketing campaigns featuring Parimatch’s logo follows sanctions applied to the club’s Vladimir Putin-linked owner, Roman Abramovich.

Fallout from Ukraine invasion

Chelsea’s shirt sponsor, British telecommunications giant Three, as well as South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, have also recently paused their sponsorship of the West London club.

On March 10, the UK government sanctioned Abramovic and seven other Russian oligarchs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A government statement accused the Chelsea owner of having close ties with Putin “for decades,” which has resulted in him benefitting financially.

Parimatch, which is now based in Cyprus, inked a three-year deal with Chelsea on August 9. An official news release at the time stated that Parimatch would “use Chelsea’s bold and ambitious brand and will utilize a wide array of digital, social and logistical assets to create mutual branding opportunities.”

In the same news release, Chelsea FC’s CEO Guy Laurence said that 2020 was “immensely successful for Parimatch as they expanded and opened new markets, while launching several game-changing projects.”

In response, Parimatch Tech co-CEO Roman Syrotian said becoming an official partner of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League winners was “a great thrill and responsibility.”

Corporate social responsibility

While pausing its marketing activities with the English Premier League team, Parimatch Tech is increasing its corporate social responsibility activity in light of the war.

Via Twitter on March 16, the online operator said it had upped its financial aid to Ukraine to UAH60m ($2m) as it further supports people in the country affected by the Russian invasion.

Parimatch initially set aside UAH30m ($1.2m) to help Ukrainians. Both of Parimatch’s co-CEOs, Syrotian and Maksym Liashko, are from Ukraine.

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