Australia cricket captain Steve Smith breaks down in press conference over ball tampering scandal

Cricket Australia lose major sponsor over ball tampering by Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner

Smith, Warner and Bancroft have already been dropping from individual sponsorship deals

Jack Austin@jackaustin_1
Thursday 29 March 2018 10:41
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Cricket Australia has been left reeling in the wake of the ball tampering scandal which has disgraced the sport as one of their biggest sponsors have pulled out of their deal.

Magellan Financial Group cancelled a naming rights sponsorship deal with Cricket Australia as the financial implications of the ball tampering in South Africa begins to hit the sport as a whole in the country, rather than just the players involved.

Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were both given 12-month suspensions for their part in the incident while Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball, received a nine-month ban.

The worrying episode for a sport which, in Australia, is seen as the epitome of fairness has been commented on from leaders of the team all the way up to the prime minister. And now Magellan have pulled out of their deal with Cricket Australia, seven months into a three-year contract.

Magellan said the deal with Cricket Australia was based on what they though was shared values of “integrity, leadership, dedication and an unwavering customer-first culture”.

In a statement they said: “A conspiracy by the leadership of the Australian Men's Test Cricket Team which broke the rules with a clear intention to gain an unfair advantage during the third test in South Africa goes to the heart of integrity.

“These recent events are so inconsistent with our values that we are left with no option but to terminate our ongoing partnership with Cricket Australia.”

Magellan has not put a price on the sponsorship deal but Australian media reported it was worth about A$20m (£10.8m). The company's 2017 annual report forecast a “material increase in its currently modest marketing expenditure” in part because of cricket sponsorship.

Morals clauses are commonplace in sports sponsorship deals, allowing both parties to exit if the other engages in conduct that might negatively impact on the image, goodwill and reputation of their partner.

So far no other partners have indicated their intention to drop their sponsorship deals with Cricket Australia, with Yum!, owners of KFC, and Toyota both praising the governing body for their swift action.

Sponsors have already dropped the three players at the centre of the controversy from lucrative deals, with Smith dropped as “Weet-Bix brand ambassador”.

Warner has already been dropped by two of his biggest sponsors, sportswear maker Asics and electronics giants LG. Bancroft has also been dropped by Asics, with the company describing their actions as “not something that Asics tolerates and are contrary to the values the company stands for”.

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