Magellan Financial Group has today (Thursday) become the first major Cricket Australia sponsor to terminate its association with the body in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that has enveloped the national team.
The funds management business entered into a three-year deal with CA in August, through which it became the new naming-rights sponsor of the national team’s domestic Test series.
The agreement commenced with the 2017-18 Ashes series against England, with Magellan benefitting from extensive in-stadium advertising and exposure during the promotion of the series.
Magellan replaced Commonwealth Bank of Australia in the role, with the deal reportedly worth Aus$20m (€12.6m/$15.5m/ R183.3m). Magellan today elected to terminate the contract, stating the deal was signed on the notion of shared values and reputations of integrity, leadership, dedication and an “unwavering customer-first culture”.
Magellan chief executive Hamish Douglass added: “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.”
CA yesterday (Wednesday) opted to impose one-year bans on captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, along with a nine-month suspension for opening batsman Cameron Bancroft. The incident occurred on Saturday as Australian fielder Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, in an apparent effort to scuff it up to assists bowlers in generating reverse swing, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of Smith (left of picture) by the two on-field umpires. The clarity of the images transmitted around the world has provoked a media storm, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday handing Smith, one of the finest batsmen in world cricket, a one-match suspension and a fine of 100 per cent of his match fee.
Bancroft, a junior member of the Australian team, was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points. CA yesterday insisted that the plot involved only the three players sanctioned and the incident has already resulted in the trio losing endorsement deals.
Commonwealth Bank and breakfast cereal maker Sanitarium Australia have dropped Smith as an ambassador. Japanese sportswear manufacturer Asics has ended deals with Warner (right of picture) and Bancroft, with Korean consumer electronics firm LG also terminating its relationship with the former vice-captain.