Aidan Regan: Gazprom’s Champions League deal plays into Putin’s game plan

Europe’s best course of action to deter Vladimir Putin from aggression against Ukraine is to wean itself off Russian gas. But that will come at a steep cost

Gazprom: the Russian gas company advertises itself to advance the influence and soft power of the Russian state. It’s about Vladimir Putin reminding Europeans that the heat keeping them warm as they watch TV in their homes is made possible by Russian gas. Picture: Getty/Tass

In just over two weeks’ time, football fans across the world will tune in to watch 16 of Europe’s top football clubs compete in the knockout stage of this season’s Uefa Champions League, the most-watched sporting tournament in the world. They’ll also be exposed to some unmissable advertisements by one of the tournament's top sponsors and partners: Gazprom, the Russian state-backed gas company.

Gazprom spent over €40 million a year in its 2018-2021 sponsorship of ...