From the WSJ Europe's Emerging Europe Real Time blog:
Facing stagnating sales of natural gas in Europe, its main export market, Gazprom hired German soccer superstar Franz Beckenbauer to promote Russia’s gas.
During the 1966 World Cup, Mr. Beckenbauer, debuting at the West Germany team, put the final nail in the coffin of the Soviet team in the semi-final. Under Mr. Beckenbauer as a West Germany’s captain, the Soviets were squarely defeated 3-0 in the final of the 1972 European Championship. Gazprom’s Chief Executive Alexei Miller, a football fan himself, must have remembered this, hiring arguably the most famous German footballer and coach.
Gazprom is not new to football. It’s sponsoring German team FC Schalke 04 and St. Petersburg-based Zenit.
Gazprom’s main business–gas exports to Europe–has, however, been recently facing difficulties. The company had to cut its exports outlook to 150 billion cubic meters for 2012....MORE