UEFA poaches World Rally sponsor chief

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) sponsorship director Richard Heaselgrave has left to join UEFA in a senior sponsorship role.

He was responsible for attracting partners and developing sponsorship packages for WRC, whose global sponsors include Sony PlayStation, Lucozade and Puma.

Heaselgrave, who is also a former Budweiser sponsorship chief, started at UEFA last week as sponsorship sales and event promotion manager. The WRC has begun searching for his replacement.

International Sportsworld Communications (ISC), the global media and commercial rights-holder for the WRC, hopes to fill the role by the end of November. ISC is also talking to other leading brands about the possibility of becoming partners.

ISC managing director Simon Long says/ “Developing relationships with partners is now a key focus for our organisation and, having made a significant investment in developing the television platform in recent years, we have an excellent, exciting product with a truly global reach.”

In recent months, the WRC Championship, along with the FIA GT Championship and A1 Grand Prix, is understood to have been contacted by prominent Formula One sponsors concerned by the threat of a breakaway series.

Five F1 manufacturers and seven teams met at the start of the month to discuss the future and concluded they had no alternative but to set up a rival series to F1 because of the way the sport is being run.

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