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Ban on Sponsorship by State Firms Could Hit Football, Hockey Teams

Football and hockey could face a revolution if a new bill banning state-owned companies from funding professional teams becomes law, and some would struggle to survive.

The bill introduced to the lower house of parliament Monday would ban state-owned monopolies like gas giant Gazprom from pouring millions into professional teams, typically in deals that far exceed the market value of the commercial exposure involved.

The sport hardest hit would likely be football, where three of the top four teams in the Russian Premier League have state-owned sponsors or owners, as do smaller fish like FC Tomsk, whose general director Artyom Fomenko warned of potentially disastrous consequences for clubs like his.

Fomenko said his club gets between 85 and 90 percent of its budget from state-owned oil firms Gazprom Neft and Rosneft. (RIA Novosti)

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