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'
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
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