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Gambrinus pulls backing of Czech FA over corruption claims

Czech Republic brewery Gambrinus has dropped its sponsorship of the country’s national football team and First League top-tier domestic club competition due to concerns over allegations of corruption.

According to the Reuters news agency, Miroslav Pelta last week resigned as chairman of the Czech Football Association (FACR) after he was charged by police with abuse of power, breaching fiduciary duties and favouritism in public tenders.

Although Pelta has denied all of the charges, Marek Dvorak, marketing manager at Gambrinus, said in a statement on the brewery’s website that the allegations are “damaging” the company’ brand.

However, Dvorak said that Gambrinus would continue to support lower-league football in the Czech Republic.

“The cases around top football and the long-term unwillingness of the FACR leadership to take substantial steps to improve its reputation are damaging us too,” Dvorak said.

“We will continue to support football on lower levels, where we feel there is true joy of the game and fair play.”

The FACR also published a statement on its website confirming the decision, but added it was hopeful of reopening negotiations over a new deal with Gambrinus. The firm’s agreement had been due to expire at the end of the 2017-18 season.

The FACR said: “Collaboration with Gambrinus has been long-lasting and it is hard to imagine football without its participation after 19 years. That’s why we will continue the negotiations, and we firmly hope that we can match with Gambrinus on some other levels of football.

“At this moment, we are working out what form of cooperation to set up from the 2018-19 season, especially in projects aimed at performance football.”