Zug, 09.02.2023

Russian company sponsors the Zug Chesslete

The Russian-owned fertiliser company in Zug is supporting the carnival event with CHF 2,200. The president of the carnival association explains that the organisation committee have no ethical guidelines regarding sponsorship.

From the beginning of the Ukraine war at the latest, the Eurochem company in Zug has become a household name to many. Although the Russian fertiliser manufacturer with headquarters at Baarerstrasse 37 in Zug is not subject to sanctions, it recently made the headlines because of its founder Andrei Melnichenko. He resigned as the major beneficiary shortly before the sanctions against him came into force, and his wife took over the company. She is also now on the sanctions list.

But the name Eurochem is now appearing in a completely different context: namely as a sponsor of the ‘Chesslete’ of the Zug carnival association on 16th February, which marks the beginning of the carnival (Fasnacht) season. The company is listed on the website under "main sponsors", alongside the city of Zug, the Zug Cantonal Bank and Glencore.

The budget is around CHF 75,000
"If the company had ended up on the sanctions lists, sponsoring would no longer have been possible for us," said Jascha Hager, president of the Zug Chesslete association, to the online portal Zentralplus.

Zug Chesslete: an impression from last year          Photo: Jan Pegoraro
Overview of the Zug Chesslete (in German)

The organisation committee (OC) has no ethical guidelines with regard to sponsoring, "especially as we are ultimately a non-political association, with many different people on the committee and members who all work on a voluntary basis". And further: "Our task is to organise the Chesslete event, and we don't want to take up a position on higher-level issues."

According to Jascha Hager, Eurochem was also a sponsor last year. The contribution to the Chesslete was CHF 2’200, he said, and the total budget was around CHF 75,000.

"We think about sponsoring every year," adds the association president. Existing sponsors are thereby approached every year and, where necessary, new ones are sought. Much of the work is done through personal contacts, says Hager, adding: "It's not as if Zug SMEs or international companies with a connection to Zug are breaking down our doors."

The company does not want to comment
Jascha Hager hopes that the whole Chesslete will not now be reduced to this issue. "I would prefer to see reports on the programme, on the preparations, on the commitment of the OC members et cetera," says Hager. And further: "Show me a major event in the Zug region that is not affected by this issue."

The Zug-based raw materials company Glencore, for example, is, in fact, very active as a sponsor of various local cultural and sports institutions.

The Zuger Zeitung newspaper wanted to know from Eurochem whether there are other associations or organisations that are financially supported by the company. And, in addition, whether the company wants to improve its image with sponsorships after the negative headlines in the canton of Zug. The enquiry to the media office has so far remained unanswered.