Hyundai aren’t reversing out of A-League, insist club chiefs

Reports that the A-League’s biggest backer Hyundai is poised to pull the pin on a 15-year partnership have been challenged by club chiefs, with a re-definition of the car giant’s role a more likely outcome.

A-League

Source: A-League

The Korean manufacturer’s $6 million-a-year commitment expires in June, and the relationship is about to end at the conclusion of that deal, leaving the competition bereft of its marquee sponsor.

It’s claimed a one-year extension might be forged to alleviate an immediate financial hit.

However, Chris Fong, deputy chair of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), the umbrella body for the clubs, is confident Hyundai will remain part of the domestic football fabric, even if they are potentially no longer the main naming rights holder.

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Fong, also the vice-chairman of Brisbane Roar, told The World Game: “We have a very good relationship with Hyundai and I think globally they remain very committed to football.

“There might be a re-structure - and I believe there have been discussions on that front - but I wouldn’t be going to the full extent of saying that Hyundai are exiting the A-League.

“I wouldn’t say that at all and don’t give much credence to the claims that that’s the case.

“Nothing has been agreed to or finalized - discussions are ongoing involving all parties.

“The contract is certainly coming up for renewal but I’m not aware of anything else at this stage.

“Hyundai has had a change of manager in the past year or so but we’ve had some positive dialogue with them.

“We’re not going anywhere, the A-League is going to be around and Hyundai are going to be around.”

Fong also challenged the claim that clubs have been told by FFA to keep the Hyundai logo off jersey designs for next season amid the ongoing uncertainty.

Fong sees a future where a broad spectrum of sponsors are involved in an array of programs that stretch far beyond just branding and naming rights, and also encompass partnerships with state federations.

“(With the separation of powers between FFA and the A-League) there’s going to be far more opportunities with sponsors that haven’t been tapped into over the past few years, with broader football initiatives like grassroots developments and academies,” said Fong.

“I think you’ll see the likes of Hyundai and others working on other programs.

“It may not be just branding - it’ll be more partnerships engaging with fans and communities.

“Hyundai sell cars and we engage with so many communities - and we can work on programs with them and others to provide greater reach.

“The Hyundais and other sponsors need to look at their financials and we can support their businesses while they support ours. That’s got to be the future.”

Fong said the clubs and the FFA, through its new CEO James Johnson, were working in close collaboration to ensure the game explored every avenue to attract sponsors and keep existing ones.

“There’s far greater cooperation between the FFA and the clubs than ever before, and we’re very happy for that,” added Fong.

“We’re doing things side by side - it’s not us and them. It’s us.”


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3 min read
Published 4 February 2020 at 5:22pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS The World Game