German media replaces Gazprom logo with pro-Ukraine slogan

German newspaper Bild have faced accusations of hypocrisy after calling for FC Schalke to ‘cover up’ their sponsorship with Russian energy giant Gazprom

Bild, the German tabloid newspaper, has been hit with accusations of hypocrisy after making an editorial announcement calling for a football team’s sponsorship by the Russian gas company Gazprom to be replaced with a slogan reading ‘Freedom for Ukraine’ – only for the publication to have Gazprom-branded shirts for public sale in their online store.

FC Schalke, who compete in the second tier of German football, have had Gazprom as a primary sponsor on their shirts since 2017, saying on Tuesday that the energy giant has been a reliable partner” for 15 years, while also being a supplier of natural gas to the German market.

However, after it emerged this week that UEFA have come under external pressure due to their own Gazprom sponsorship in the wake of escalating tensions with Ukraine, the German club released a statement to say that they are in dialogue” with their commercial partner.

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

“Those responsible for the club are in constant dialogue with the long-standing main sponsor, the club said in a statement. They added that they are committed to peace and peaceful coexistence.”

Bild, though, which is one of Germany’s most read newspapers, said in an editorial penned by their sports director Walter M. Straten that it was difficult to watch the Gazprom-sponsored Champions League games and their ensuing advertisements while the specter of conflict looms. 

Links: @BILD will Schalkes Trikot-Sponsor Gazprom (“Putins Werbung”) in der eigenen Berichterstattung künftig mit “FREIHEIT für die UKRAINE” überkleben.

Rechts: @BILD will mit dem Verkauf von Schalke-Gazprom-Trikots weiter Geld verdienen.

Mehr dazu hier: https://t.co/lG2zAVOUAi pic.twitter.com/cStdleRGmV

— BILDblog (@BILDblog) February 23, 2022

“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’s advertising on TV during the Champions League anthem while Putin’s troops are marching into Ukraine.

“We will see Schalke in their Gazprom jerseys, as if the group had been a completely normal advertising partner since 2007 – and not a financier of the Russian state power.”

Straten also called for any Gazprom logos associated with German football and FC Schalke to be replaced with a ‘Freedom for Ukraine’ logo.

“No Schalke jersey with the Gazprom lettering. Just tape it off. That would be a powerful symbol, he said, adding that Bild should take steps in this direction.

“Bild is putting an end to Putin’s shirt advertising until further notice! We paste over the logo in the newspaper and on the Internet with the demand: Freedom for Ukraine!”

However it seems, temporarily at least, that this self-censorship didn’t apply to the Bild shop accessible through their website – as Schalke jerseys, with Gazprom logos prominently displayed, were for sale with some of the proceeds presumably set to line the pockets of the same people scoffing at economic links to Russian companies. 

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