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A Review On Sports Sanctions In Russia


by Andrew Jones

On 24th of February, 2022 the world changed in a drastic way. That is the day when Russia and Putin fully invaded Ukraine, starting an unnecessary and tragic war due to political differences. Countries around the world including the United States and the UK have created strong sanctions against Russia to help slow down or even create an end to this war.

As a consequence of these events, we have also witnessed several sanctions from the sporting world being applied to Russia across multiple disciplines.

Just recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared Russia to have violated the Olympic Truce but the sanctions around the soccer league could greatly hurt the Russian citizens and its overall economy as well.

It wasn’t long ago, I remember watching the 2018 FIFA World Cup which was held in Russia and it was a big accomplishment for Putin and Russia’s effort to create the prominence of sport in his country. Now, because of his recent actions, the country is banned from competing in the organisation’s future tournaments.

Also recently, Spartak Moscow, who was one of the 16 teams competing in the Europa League was evidently thrown out of the competition. This obviously has created an upset crowd of fans and also all the sponsors within that team. Addition to this, Gazprom Stadium in St. Petersburg, which also has the naming rights for Russia’s largest energy provider, was set to host the UEFA Champions League Final. They were stripped from probably one of the biggest football events in the world due to the Country’s teams being banned from playing in any European competition.

You can see that the short-term impact is evident, but let's take a look at what the long-term impact could look like for Russia as well.

I’ve already mentioned the Olympics, the World Cup, Spartak Moscow and the UEFA Champions League Final but here’s an additional list below of what has happened in sports involving Russia already due to the recent chain of events.

  • Formula One Russian Grand Prix canceled.
  • Haas F1 Team has terminated the title partnership of Uralkali and Nikita Mazepin has lost his seat as well.
  • Adidas has now ended its $10 million uniform partnership with Russian Football.
  • Most likely, Nike and Puma who supply soccer uniforms will also end its partnership (that's $30 million worth).
According to Global Data Sport’s figures, $180 million was spent across all sports in Russia annually and $618.3 million was spent across the length of those contracts in total.
  • $419 Million is being paid by Russian brands over the course of their contracts
  • Annually that is $132.5 million outside the country - just in football
  • Mentioning Gazprom, “The board of directors of FC Schalke 04, with the approval of the supervisory board, decided to prematurely end the partnership between S04 and Gazprom,” the club confirmed. The brand was also a sponsor of the Champion’s League.
  • Manchester United has ended its long standing relationship with the Russian airline, Aeroflot.
  • Chelsea and its owner, Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government
  • This means:
  • Chlesea’s company credit cards have been temporarily frozen
  • They were frozen as an asset of Abramovich who was one of seven Russian oligarchs
  • They can continue to fulfill fixtures but have limited money to spend on these matches.
  • This includes a cap of around £20,000 ($26,000) on travel to away matches and a (revised) £900,000 ($1.17m) limit on the cost of staging home games
  • On a positive note, The UK government has given the green light for the sale of Chelsea after its sanction. ($3.9B worth)
  • Everton FC is suspending all commercial arrangements with its Russian companies including the new stadium that was set to open in 2024,

Chelsea's Roman Abramovich under heavy sanctions. Image credit: Telegraph

Some commentary from leading voices on the topic:

“When a country is at war, it’s not right to race there. That’s for sure,” - Max Verstappen, Oracle Red Bull Racing
"This is different as governments, business and other international organizations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia across all sectors. Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace. We cannot and should not sit this one out.” - Sebastian Coe, British Politician and Sports Industry Icon
“There has never been a more important time in our history. The action we are witnessing by the sports fraternity towards Russia will change the global sporting landscape forever. Sports will be part of the collective voice that will drive positive change to end this injustice.” - Dharpan Randhawa, President - Talisman
“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the government will work with the league and clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended.” - Nadine Dorries, British Politician, Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports

About Talisman™

Talisman is an award-winning global agency redefining sports, entertainment, gaming & Web3 partnerships across key industries and regions. With offices in  Dubai & New York City, Talisman thrives on unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the great brands and creative minds they have the pleasure of working with. With global resources and connectivity in key markets, Talisman has won prominent industry awards for executing groundbreaking partnerships & activations across sports & gaming.