Rescued Otkritie bank can still sponsor Spartak Moscow soccer club: central bank

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the logo of Russian bank Otkritie in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank said it did not object to Otkritie bank continuing its sponsorship of soccer club Spartak Moscow despite Otkritie being bailed out this week and said the decision was up to the troubled lender.

The central bank is taking a minimum 75 percent stake in Otkritie, the country’s biggest private lender, after it ran intro financial problems.

That has raised questions about whether Otkritie will continue its six-year 1.2 billion-rouble partnership agreement with Russian Premier League club Spartak Moscow, a 2013 deal that saw the club’s home stadium in Moscow named after the bank.

The venue, currently known as Otkritie Arena, will host five matches during next summer’s soccer World Cup finals.

“Issues regarding sponsorship and charity are a commercial decision for the bank itself,” Vasily Pozdyshev, central bank deputy chairman, told Reuters in an interview.

“If these decisions help improve the bank’s image, the client situation and speed up a financial recovery, if the bank will make more money as a result, then why not? But these decisions won’t be the central bank’s.”

Spartak’s owner, oil executive Leonid Fedun, who is also an Otkritie shareholder, said this week that the bank’s difficult situation would not affect its partnership with the club, the TASS news agency reported.

(The story corrects to remove erroneous reference to “roubles” in the headline)

Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn