Ukraine War Fall-out: Parimatch Kick Rumours of Chelski Split Into Touch
Parimatch, the Ukraine-origin iGaming heavy-hitter–who have been leading the gambling industry’s humanitarian response for its embattled homeland–has denied widespread media reports that it is to terminate its sponsorship deal with Russian-owned Chelsea FC.
Founded in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in 1994, Parimatch immediately condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion.
The online casino and sports betting company, now headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus, has donated around £1.5 million (US$1.96m/€1.78m) in humanitarian aid to war-wracked Ukraine, to date.
And, according to press reports, it has also provided the equivalent of another £1 million (US$1.31/€1.19m) to buy ammunition and medicines for Ukrainian fighters.
Last August, Parimatch signed a three-year marketing deal with Chelsea FC, the current World Club and European Club Champions, which has been owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich since 2003.
The agreement allowed Parimatch branding on the LED systems at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground and granted the firm rights to exploit the club’s data assets.
Given Abramovich’s historic links to Putin, as one of his top enablers and cronies, reports in the British media soon surfaced that the agreement had been trashed because of Parimatch’s Ukrainian origins.
But Parimatch has now adamantly denied that it has severed all links with “Chelski”, as the club has been nicknamed – although it has confirmed that it has cut commercial ties with other partners operating inside Russia.
“[We are] not terminating or suspending the contract with Chelsea FC,” Parimatch has asserted in an official statement. “We are limiting our joint marketing and brand campaigns to focus all our efforts on helping Ukraine.
“All of our current activity in the public domain is aimed at raising awareness about the war.
“And we intend to use the resources at hand, including the club’s LED display systems, to promote our volunteering and donation activities.”
Abramovich, hammered by UK and Europe sanctions, is now an international pariah and has effectively lost all his investment in the club whose fortunes his billions transformed.
Chelsea has not been able to sell tickets and some partners, among them mobile phone network 3 have indeed suspended marketing deals with the club.
Added Parimatch: “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.
“Chelsea FC is supportive of [this].”