DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 19: Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich looks on during the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between England and Ukraine at Donbass Arena on June 19, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
It took a while to materialise, but we're now seeing that wave of new sponsorship deals that many were expecting in the wake of Chelsea's UEFA Champions League victory last May. Today, the Blues have announced another seemingly major one -- we've now got whatever the heck a 'Global Energy Partner' is in Russian firm Gazprom, who are now also sponsoring the Champions League and the Super Cup. It's a three-year deal, for the super-curious.
Naturally, everyone is assuming that Roman Abramovich has something to do with this. Chelsea! Russia! Fossil fuels! It's a pretty obvious connection to make. If we follow that train of thought to its logical conclusion, it's pretty easy to assume that good ol' Roman has had some of his buddies hand us a lot of money in such a way that we circumvent the Financial Fair Play regulations (which prevent the owners of the club from sponsoring said club in a way that exceeds market value).
However, it's worth pointing out that that remains speculation rather than fact, and we don't know how much money Gazprom are putting into the club. I'd guess that it's not really that much. With the new television deal on the horizon, Chelsea should be on pretty good terms as far as FFP goes, and although a big cash infusion certainly wouldn't hurt, I'm not sure the club would need to stretch the rules like that right now.
But hey, speculate away if you like. It's fun to speculate! I'm speculating about aliens right now. THEY MIGHT BE OUT THERE.