FA ‘damaged’ ahead of sponsor talks

A Football Association official has said the FA brand has been “tarnished” and that the organisation is concerned for its &£100m sponsorship deals, following the sex scandal that has led to the resignation of its chief executive.

The FA source says there are worries the FA’s brand has been damaged by media coverage: “No one is going to pretend it has not been damaging. It is reasonable to say the brand has been tarnished.”

He adds that the FA hopes the scandal will not affect renewal talks with its five sponsors, Carlsberg, McDonald’s, Nationwide, Pepsi and Umbro. The FA is expected to enter talks about future sponsorship before the end of the year. “It is not helpful in the short term, but we are some way off negotiations,” he says.

Sponsors have used their positions to express displeasure with FA actions in the past. In 1999, Nationwide marketing director Mike Lazenby sparked off events that resulted in the dismissal of England manager Glenn Hoddle for offending handicapped people.

Another source close to the FA adds: “I suspect sponsors are horrified. The FA is about to start negotiations, but the sponsors will be asking why they would want to associate with a brand that is itself associated with deceit, lies and scandal.”

For the time being, sponsors have closed ranks around the FA. A Nationwide spokesman says the matter is an internal affair and not something a sponsor could comment on. An Umbro spokesman says: “We’ll wait until the matter has been resolved and will go from there.”

Carlsberg says that “this is a matter strictly between the FA and the individuals concerned,” while a Pepsi spokesman maintains that the scandal will “not affect our relationship with the FA”.

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