August 8, 2022

Nike could follow Three in suspending their deal with Chelsea

Nike are reportedly considering ditching their kit deal with Chelsea after outgoing owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.

Abramovich, who became Chelsea’s owner in 2003, announced he intended to sell the Premier League club last week. This followed calls for him to be sanctioned over his links to Vladimir Putin after Russia’s widely condemned invasion of Ukraine.

On Thursday a government report confirmed the 55-year-old was one of seven oligarchs to be hit with sanctions, with all of his UK assets frozen immediately.

The development added to the intensifying uncertainty surrounding Chelsea, with the measures meaning they are banned from offering contracts, buying players and even selling tickets and merchandise.

After the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor Three announced they were suspending the deal on Thursday, the Daily Mail report that the US sportswear giant Nike are also considering walking away from their deal.

Nike replaced adidas as Chelsea’s kit supplier in 2016, agreeing a 15-year deal worth £900m. Should the deal be suspended with nine years left to run on the deal, the club could miss out on a staggering £540m.

Despite Three temporarily suspending their deal, the telecommunications company’s logo remained on Chelsea’s shirts for Thursday night’s Premier League game against Norwich City.

Chelsea won the game 3-1 at Carrow Road, where their fans ignored calls for them to stop singing Abramovich’s name.

Some supporters had been fiercely criticised for singing his name before the game against Burnley at Turf Moor last week – during a planned show of support for Ukraine. This was condemned by manager Thomas Tuchel, with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust telling them not to repeat the songs moving forward.

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