While many other clubs across Europe have cut their ties with Russian sponsors following the invasion of Ukraine, money rather than democracy seems to be rather more important to Barcelona Football Club who continue to support their Russian sponsor, the bookmaker 1xBET, who pay the club eight million euros every year.
There are already many examples of other sports associations and clubs that have severed commercial relations with Russian companies as a result of the war in Ukraine. FIFA, UEFA, Man Utd, Everton, Schalke 04, and many others, have already taken action in this regard, but Barça, refuses to follow the boycott.
Barça reached an agreement with 1xBET during the term of president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Even then it was very controversial due to the Russian bookmaker’s links with cockfights, a pornographic casino and the promotion of gambling in children’s sports in England. Despite this, the agreement went ahead and Barça has since pocketed eight million euros every year since 2019.
Current President Joan Laporta has decided to keep the bookmaker among its Global Partners and not break links with them. In fact, on its official website, the Russian company is the first of a list of 10 sponsors that are completed by other companies and brands including Estrella Damm, Konami, Cupra, Oppo, Stanley, Gatorade, Allianz, Chiliz and FBS.