Telecommunications company Three has asked Chelsea to remove their branding from their shirts immediately, having now suspended their sponsorship deal with the club. There’s a kit man in Norwich now heading down to Sports Direct to buy 20 plain blue football tops.
Earlier on Thursday, sanctions were imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich from the UK government, in a move that prohibits the club to make transfers, extend players’ contracts or sell match tickets or merchandise.
The megastore at Stamford Bridge was closed after the news was confirmed and the club have now suffered another blow as main shirt sponsors Three have issued the following statement:
‘In light of the government’s recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.
‘We recognise that this decision will impact the many Chelsea fans who follow their team passionately. However, we feel that given the circumstances, and the Government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do.
‘As a mobile network, the best way we can support the people of Ukraine is to ensure refugees arriving in the UK from the conflict and customers currently in Ukraine can stay connected to the people who matter to them. Therefore, we are offering connectivity packages to all Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and those in Ukraine.’
Norwich v Chelsea.
As Three’s statement was being released, Chelsea were preparing for a Premier League meeting with Norwich City at Carrow Road on Thursday evening.
Presumably, this will be the first occasion in which Thomas Tuchel’s side play without the Three logo on their shirts, and the German coach is likely to face questions on this as well as other elements of Thursday’s breaking story.