Controversial, strange and embarrassing shirt sponsorship deals


Following the announcement that Newcastle United have agreed a sponsorship deal with loans company, we take a look at other shirt deals that raised eyebrows.

Barcelona – Qatar Foundation (2011-present)

The 171 million Euro deal represents the first occasion the club have received payment from a commercial shirt sponsor, thus signalling “the end of an era”, according to many fans.

Newcastle United – Northern Rock (2003-2012)

The bank was nationalised in February 2008 after two failed takeover bids, neither of which could fully commit to repaying 100 per cent of taxpayers’ money.

West Ham United – XL (2007-2008)

West Ham played without a shirt sponsor for over two months at the start of the 08/09 season due to the collapse of the XL package holiday company.

Clydebank – Wet Wet Wet (1993-1990)

The Scottish band sponsored their hometown club in the mid ‘90s.

Scarborough FC – Black Death Vodka (1990)

The now disbanded football club was briefly sponsored by the macabrely named spirit in 1990.

Manchester United – AIG (2006-2010)

United ended their four year association with the American insurance corporation in 2010 after they became embroiled in financial controversy.

West Bromwich Albion – No Smoking Symbol (1985-1986)

Ironically, the club chose the logo as their shirt sponsor when smoking in the terraces was still permitted

FC Nurnberg – Mister Lady (2005-2008)

The German club were sponsored by the local clothing company from 2005 to 2008.

Sunderland – Invest in Africa/Tullow Oil (2012-present)

The British oil company is reported to have damaged business practices in Africa.

Voukefala – Soula Brothel

The financially troubled Greek club is to be sponsored by local brothel in a “strictly economical” agreement, according to club president Giannis Batziolas.

Bolton Wanderers – 188Bet (2009-present)

Outrage ensued as it became apparent that the gambling company was offering live betting on academy/youth games. Gordon Taylor, head of the PFA, said that "It is making our youngsters vulnerable, without a shadow of a doubt…..Youngsters and gambling is a bad mix, and an unhealthy one."

Liverpool – Standard Chartered (2010-present)

The American bank was branded a “rogue institution” by U.S. regulators for covering up $160bn worth of illegal transactions with the Iranian government. It has subsequently had $6bn wiped off its value.

Malaga CF – William Hill (2009-2010)

Owner Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser AL-Thani prematurely ended the club’s association with the betting company, as gambling goes against the laws of Islam.

New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg

Both clubs are not only sponsored by, but named after the drinks company.


Beyond the football field...

2012 Paralympic Games – Atos

Multiple protests took place over the French company’s involvement in slashing disability benefits.

Ben Rothwell (2009)

The UFC fighter had and Extenze (a male enhancement product) displayed on his shorts.

Bobby Labonte (2004)

The NASCAR driver’s car was named after and decorated using advertising from the film The Passion of the Christ.


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