Airborne Greenpeace protesters interrupted a Champions League match, unfurling a banner in opposition to the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom’s continued involvement in top flight football.
Uefa, the organising body of Europe’s premier football competition, said it had opened disciplinary proceedings against the Swiss champions FC Basel after the four abseiling environmentalists stopped play during a fixture against German club Schalke on Tuesday night.
The demonstration against Gazprom’s oil exploration in the Arctic and sponsorship of the Champions League could see the Swiss club fined for having “insufficient organisation” in place. It has prompted fears that similar demonstrations could be held at Chelsea’s home matches.
Gazprom is a sponsor of the club owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who sold his stake in the oil company Sibneft to Gazprom for a reported £8.4bn in 2005.
According to Greenpeace, it is “only a matter of time” before an oil spill results from Gazprom’s operations in the Prirazlomnaya field, on the Pechora Sea shelf.