WHAT THE MEDIA SAY: FA's sponsor change wins over the fans

Organisation: The Football Association



Issue: Sponsorship policy



In line with Sven-Goran Eriksson's revolution of the England national

football side, his employers revealed plans for the FA's future

sponsorship policy, which mainly consists of relieving the FA Cup and

the national side of direct sponsorship.



The move delighted the traditionalist press as the original plan to

sponsor the 'oldest knock-out cup tournament in the world' (The Mirror,

28/09) was greeted with some trepidation. FA chief executive Adam

Crozier said the move would help 'restore the image of the FA Cup'

(ITN.co.uk, 01/10).



As the FA announced its reorganisation, the backlash from current

sponsors Nationwide and AXA was immediate. 'Thoroughly unprofessional'

(Evening Standard, 28/09) were the words of AXA corporate affairs

director Phil Hickley.



After the stinging 'slur' on the FA, AXA soon retracted its comments, in

particular Hickley, who issued a statement blaming a breakdown of

communication.



This after the two sides had spent the weekend discussing the matter:

'Reports of a threat of legal action by the FA may well have helped the

cause' (Ananova.com, 01/10)



Nationwide, which spent £14m to have its name on all England

merchandise bar the replica shirt, was said to be 'disappointed ... at

the FA's decision, but had not ruled out being one of ... the FA

partners' in the new-look sponsorship scheme (Daily Star, 29/09)



The new-look format will be similar to that of the UEFA Champions League

and the FIFA World Cup.



Crozier said he hoped that this would now 'help reduce the commercial

burden of the national team players in an effort to keep fully focused

on pitch matters,' (Yorkshire Evening Post, 29/09)



The FA's decision has largely appeased both fans and the press alike;

the Football Supporters Association described the move as 'more power to

the FA's elbow' (The Independent, 29/09).



In not having direct sponsorship 'the FA still believes it can now

attract investors into parting with £10m to become an FA partner,'

(The Guardian, 28/09). This was met with some scepticism in the press,

as some predicted that they might have trouble getting companies to part

with such a large amount of money without the visible sponsorship that

is currently in place.



Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found

at: www.echoResearch.com.



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