Manchester United have withdrawn the sponsorship rights of Russian airline Aeroflot amid the ongoing violence and conflict in Ukraine.
Aeroflot planes have already been banned from UK airports and airspace in light of the events that unfolded in recent days as part of sanctions placed on Russia.
The carrier has been a commercial partner for United since 2013, with the latest renewal coming in 2017 at an estimated value of £40m.
Aeroflot has long been described as the ‘official carrier’ of Manchester United, although it was a Titan Airways plane that transported players and staff to and from Spain for a Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid earlier this week.
United were initially rumoured on Thursday to have been preparing to end the Aeroflot deal.
A statement from a club spokesperson on Friday then confirmed, “In light of events in Ukraine, we have withdrawn Aeroflot’s sponsorship rights. We share the concerns of our fans around the world and extend our sympathies to those affected.”
However, just hours earlier, United had given a confusing response to an individual season ticket who had written to the club to express their concerns about being partnered with Aeroflot.
The email response to that supporter, which was shared with the Manchester Evening News and published online, had read, “Our commercial partnership agreements are between Manchester United and the brands involved, not with any individual owner or related parties.
“In relation to the specific situation referred to in your email, we hope you can understand that, as a football club with fans from many different countries and cultures, Manchester United does not take positions on geopolitical issues.”