Rangers Euro rivals impacted by £34m sponsorship row as UEFA get tough on sanctions
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Rangers Euro rivals Red Star impacted by £34m UEFA Gazprom sanction

Rangers’ Europa League rivals Red Star Belgrade could find themselves at the centre of a UEFA sponsorship storm with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

UEFA announced earlier in the week that they had severed their sponsorship with the majority state-owned Russian company amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The deal is said to be worth a reported £34m per season to European football’s governing body, with Gazprom sponsoring the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024.

This follows UEFA banning the Russian national team and Russian football clubs from participating in their competitions, with Spartak Moscow kicked out of the Europa League as a result.

This impacts Rangers as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had previously proposed that Belgrade could host Spartak’s home clash with RB Leipzig.

If this had gone ahead, Spartak would’ve been playing RBL in Belgrade on the same night Rangers play Red Star, albeit at Partizan’s ground.

But the knock-on effect of UEFA’s sanctions won’t end there as Red Star Belgrade could find themselves in something of a stand-off amid the Gazprom sponsorship situation.

Rangers’ Europa League rivals Red Star Belgrade yet to renounce Gazprom sponsorship

Over the weekend clubs moved to cover up any sponsorship of the state-owned energy company but Red Star took to the pitch for their win over Partizan sporting the sponsorship.

Bundesliga 2 side Schalke 04 are also sponsored by the Russian energy giant and covered up their sponsors in their 1-1 draw with Karlsruher at the weekend.

The Germans have now cancelled their sponsorship deal with Gazprom with Putin ally Matthias Warnig stepping down from the club’s board last week [Daily Mail].

Red Star’s relationship with Gazprom is especially interesting heading into the clash with Rangers as UEFA will surely be watching on to see if the Serbians take to the pitch in their competition whilst promoting the energy giant.

Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

If Red Star Belgrade refuse to budge – with Serbia the only European country yet to condemn Russia – then it has plenty speculating regarding potential sanctions.

At this stage it’s unclear if this is genuinely the case, or if Red Star Belgrade will sport the sponsor v Rangers, but it’s something of a subplot ahead of the Europa League Last 16 clash.

Meanwhile, one Rangers-linked Red Star Belgrade player is set to visit Ibrox as part of the clash between the two sides.

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