Chelsea Sponsors Respond to Ambramovich Sanctions. Draw Ire. Praise from Fans

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  • Chelsea FC has seen significant changes after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.
  • Sponsors often have to decide whether they want to suspend their partnerships or continue supporting the club.
  • One way fans react is to post negative reviews of disreputable companies. 

The UK government sanctioned Roman Abramovich, Chelsea FC owner, and Russian oligarch for his connections to Vladimir Putin. This has left the club in a mess financially as it searches for a new owner. Abramovich stated his intention to buy the team before any sanctions were applied.

Chelsea fans have responded to the news in all the chaos surrounding the club. There has been Chanting of Abramovich’s Name at MatchesBoris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, has called for fans to end this behavior, and called it “bossip”. “completely inappropriate.”

The club’s sponsors are also faced with a dilemma. Either stick with it and risk appearing to be associated with Abramovich, or step back while the ownership situation is resolved.

Each of these decision is generating fan reaction online. Companies like Three, Hyundai and Zapp are receiving an influx of Trustpilot reviews. Recent comments and ratings are likely to be related to the companies’ respective partnerships with Chelsea.

Chelsea and England star Reece James during a Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in December 2021.

Reece James, Chelsea and England star, wearing a kit with the 3 logo

James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Mobile provider Three is arguably the most prominent example, putting a pause on a deal believed to be worth around £40 million a year to Chelsea, The Guardian reports. Three’s website has this 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.”

3 Mobile is supporting people fleeing violence, even though the conflict in Ukraine is still raging. The brand’s Facebook page has a pinned post that states: “We’re offering a free Pay As You Go SIM card to anyone arriving from the conflict in Ukraine.”

However, the most popular comments under the post are from people who express their dismay at the Chelsea sponsorship pause. Some even threaten to switch to a different mobile provider. You can read a comment with 446 love reactions and likes: “I’ve been with 3 for 15 years, I’ll be terminating my contract at the earliest possible moment #cfc.”

Many fans also used Twitter to make comments similar to the original. One user wrote: “@ThreeUK I was with BT mobile few years ago. I joined your network when 3 began working with Chelsea FC. Your decision to suspend your contract is senseless. Chelsea isn’t sanctioned, Roman is. You have 7 days to restore the deal or I am leaving Three. *079*******01.”

Zapp, a delivery service, has also put off its relationship with the club for the moment. Insider was informed by a spokesperson that Zapp had stopped communicating with the club. “Given the ongoing uncertainty related to the ownership situation of Chelsea F.C., our marketing activities with the club have been paused. In the meantime, we trust that the UK government and Chelsea F.C. can find a solution that is in the interests of football fans and the local community as soon as possible.”

They have also pledged support to the British Red Cross as well as their Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Zapp will match charitable donations made by customers who donate through their mobile app.

Despite all these efforts, Zapp’s Trustpilot profile has received 38 one-star ratings over the last five days. Many of them explicitly reference their suspended partnership with this club. “Don’t bother coming back. I had made an account and ordered a lot of food because of your affiliation with Chelsea but since you want to leave because the government is on a witch-hunt leave and never come back.”

Another review, titled “Bye bye good riddance Up the Chels. Awful company,” said: “If you can’t stick around during the lows and jump at first sight, do not think one bit that you can enjoy our success. You’ve shown your true colours. Not welcome and funny enough you need us 1000000x more than we even acknowledge you.”

Not to be confused with Zapp or Three, neither have they severed all ties with the club.

Trivago is another hotel search platform that is getting positive reviews. The company has stated that it will continue to support Abramovich’s club, despite being sanctioned. Trivago stated in a press release: “Moving forward, it is important to us to continue supporting the club, the fans, and community along with the essential work that the Chelsea Foundation does to help those in need. We are looking forward to a transition of ownership as soon as possible and want to support the club in this process.” 

Since the announcement, over 300 5-star reviews were left for the company. These reviews included comments of support and thanks, while some users identified themselves as Chelsea supporters. One of them read: “Very Loyal and trustworthy. Best sponsor. The sky remains blue.”Another user made mention of other companies that have stopped sponsoring clubs. The user wrote: “Great company. Unlike some certain companies, trivago is very loyal and always stick with you in the difficult times, you can’t go wrong with trivago. Best club in London? Chelsea Champions of Europe? Chelsea Best on earth? Kai Hotel? Trivago 💙💙💙”

Trivago has not been spared from negative online attention. Some angry users have left messages of dismay and disappointment. Nine one-star reviews of Trivago were published in the same period. Some comments included: “Appalling company with a staggering lack of morals. Blood on their hands as they continue to financially support a Putin enabler. Disgraceful.”Another writer wrote: “Supporting war criminals. Shocking.”

Some fans support the sanctions, but not all. BBC Panorama interviewed fans to create a new documentary. “Roman Abramovich’s Dirty Money.”One was the ex-owner. “He’s too closely tied to Putin for us to ignore it anymore.”

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