Sponsor deserts top-flight football club at center of sexual abuse scandal

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Nõmme Kalju team shirts will no longer be adorned with the Paf logo after the company withdrew its sponsorship. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A major sponsor of a top-flight football club embroiled in allegations of sexual misconduct by a coach says it is canceling the €340,000 deal.

Paf Estonia, a subsidiary of the Nordic online casino firm of the same name, says that: "In connection with the case that became public last week at Nõmme Kalju FC, we have decided to terminate the sponsorship agreement with the club."

The allegations concern women players at Nõmme Kalju, a team based in Tallinn.

Paf Estonia's CEO Allar Levandi continued that: "As sponsor, we stand for responsible behavior and ethics in sport and expect the same from our partners. This case is very serious and disturbing, and must be fully investigated by the relevant authorities. The coaches' behavior was not acceptable and does not suit our society. We are terminating the sponsorship agreement and we don't want to have anything more to do with the club."

Allegations came to light in the media last week concerning Nõmme Kalju FC's coach, Brazilian national Fredo Getúlio Aurelio, who one woman said sexually abused him over a period of several years, starting when she was 14. Several other women have since come forward, the Estonian Football League (EJL) says.

The police and prosecutor's office have launched an investigation into the allegations. Part of the issue concerns the extent to which Nõmme Kalju was aware of Aurelio's alleged conduct; the club said it was unaware until the media reports surfaced last last week.

Paf's sponsorship deal was signed last February and was due to run to the end of the 2023 season.

The sponsorship agreement signed last February was to be valid until the end of 2023 and was worth 340,000 euros.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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