Should banks sponsor sports stars?
A bit like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas, parliamentarian John Mann has called on the likes of tennis player Andy Murray, equestrian star Zara Phillips and motor racing great Sir Jackie Stewart to scrap their sponsorship contracts with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Bleeding red all over its accounts and shedding thousands of jobs, the struggling Scottish bank has been heavily criticised for doling out bonus payments to staff despite receiving billions of pounds of state aid.
So the relevation RBS has splashed out 200 million pounds on sports sponsorship – the bank also has a promotion deal with the rugby union Six Nations tournament – has come at the worst possible time.
“That level of excess clearly can’t be justified,” said Mann. “Not one ambassador, but loads, not short-term contracts, but long-term contracts, not small amounts of money, but large amounts of money.”
“I think it would go down very well with the British public if some of them were to cancel their contracts. Some of them would become real heroes if they did. I think they need to consider that this is borrowers’ money we are talking about.”
Should Murray, Phillips and Stewart scrap their contracts and should banks be sponsoring sports stars in the new frugal economic climate?