German newspaper Bild has been accused of hypocrisy after calling on FC Schalke to ‘cover up’ its sponsorship of Russian energy giant Gazprom
Bild, the German tabloid, has been accused of hypocrisy after it ran an editorial ad calling for Russia’s Gazprom sponsorship of a football team to be replaced with a slogan titled ‘Freedom for Ukraine’ – just so that the publication has Gazprom branded shirts for public sale in their online store.
FC Schalke, which competes in the second tier of German football, has had Gazprom as main sponsor on its shirts since 2017, claiming on Tuesday that the energy giant was a “reliable partner” for 15 years, while also supplying natural gas to the German market.
However, after it emerged this week that UEFA had come under outside pressure over its own sponsorship of Gazprom following escalating tensions with Ukraine, the German club issued a statement to say that he was in “dialogue” with their business partner.
German newspaper BILD concealed photos of Schalke shirt sponsor Gazprom (the Russian company that has been a partner since 2007) with the words “Freedom for Ukraine”. pic.twitter.com/UZ5o1e7TBj
— Phil Delves (@phildelves) February 23, 2022
“Club officials are in constant dialogue with the long-time main sponsor,” the club said in a statement. They added that they are “committed to peace and peaceful coexistence.
Bild, however, which is one of Germany’s most widely read newspapers, said in an editorial by its sporting director Walter M. Straten that watching Champions League matches sponsored by Gazprom and their ensuing advertisements as the specter of conflict looms.
“The ball is rolling, the ruble is rolling – but now the tanks are rolling too,” read his comments, via translation.
“We have to watch Gazprom advertising on TV during the Champions League anthem while Putin’s troops are marching on Ukraine.
“We will see Schalke in their Gazprom shirts, as if the group had been a completely normal advertising partner since 2007 – and not a financier of Russian state power.”
Straten also called for all Gazprom logos associated with German football and FC Schalke to be replaced with a “Freedom for Ukraine” logo.
“No Schalke shirt with Gazprom lettering. Just stick it on. It would be a powerful symbol,” he said, adding that Bild should take steps in this direction.
“Bild is ending advertising for Putin shirts until further notice! We paste the logo in the newspaper and on the Internet with the demand: Freedom for Ukraine!
However, it appears, temporarily at least, that this self-censorship did not apply to the Bild store accessible via their website – as Schalke shirts, with prominent Gazprom logos, were on sale with part of the proceeds presumably intended to fill the pockets. the same people mocking economic ties with Russian companies.
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