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Schalke jerseys in demand as club drops Russian sponsor

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY (AP) – Sporting sanctions against Russia have led to a run on soccer jerseys in the city of Gelsenkirchen.

Demand for shirts of German club Schalke went up on Monday, the same day the second-division team dropped Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom as its main sponsor. Fans have been scrambling to buy a version of the shirt without the Gazprom name and logo on it.

“Due to the high demand for the special jersey, the online shop is currently reaching its limits,” Schalke wrote on Twitter, appealing to fans for patience.

Last Tuesday, Schalke expressed “great concern” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Then on Thursday, the club said it was removing Gazprom’s logo from its jerseys. The team wore jerseys with “Schalke 04” on the front on Saturday for its 1-1 draw at Karlsruher SC.

On Sunday, Schalke said the special jerseys without Gazprom’s name would be available on Monday from its online store.

Also on Monday, the club said talks were ongoing with Gazprom but that its management had decided to end their 15-year partnership “ahead of time”.

“The club’s financial ability to operate remains unaffected by this decision,” Schalke said in a statement. “The club’s management is confident of being able to present a new partner in the near future.”

Schalke, which was relegated from the Bundesliga last year, has had Gazprom as its main sponsor since 2007.

Karlsruhe’s Tim Breithaupt and Schalke’s Florian Flick fight for the ball. PHOTO: AP

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