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French Football Federation reimburse sponsors after World Cup disappointment

29 September 2010 | Posted in Notes & Insights | By Michael Long | Contact the author

French Football Federation reimburse sponsors after World Cup disappointment

The French Football Federation (FFF)’s reimbursement of millions of euros worth of sponsorship money has resulted in a US$2.5294029 loss from the year. According to French newspaper La Tribune, an amount in the region of US$6.1346601(€4.5 million) has been handed back to several sponsors after the national team's embarrassing World Cup performances, though some money was saved on expected player bonuses that did not have to be paid.

France’s World Cup campaign could only be described as disastrous. The nation’s hopes imploded as players and staff alike, were mired in scandals, hopeless performances and player fines.  

Half of the money paid back to the sponsors has come from the players’ bonuses, which were never paid after the team ended up bottom of Group A, failing to win a single match, drawing to Uruguay and losing to Mexico and hosts South Africa. The FFF have reimbursed companies such as German sports apparel manufacturer Adidas, utilities company Gaz de France (GDF) and France’s largest retail bank, Crédit Agricole.

Several companies who had agreed sponsorships with the national team began to re-evaluate their affiliations during the World Cup, following the off-pitch argument between Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and coach Raymond Domenech. Nicolas Anelka’s altercation with the coach and refusal of a public apology refused resulted in the Chelsea star being sent home. The players’ subsequent training strike and the failure to progress beyond the group stage in South Africa added to sponsor’s concerns.

Several advertising campaigns featuring French national footballers were also axed during the World Cup.

The FFF condemned the actions of Anelka and, the following day, team captain Patrice Evra’s heated argument with team trainer Robert Duverne resulted in the players returning to the team bus and cancelling practice. The French team’s managing director, Jean-Louis Valentin, announced his resignation stating he was "sickened and disgusted" by the actions of the team.

The French team however, released a statement criticising the FFF for sending Anelka home. The federation responded by declaring the players' boycott "unacceptable" and apologising to the world for the conduct of the players. Domenech, who was later fired by the federation for "misconduct" following France’s World Cup exit, was recently spotted signing on at a Pôle emploi office in Paris, collecting unemployment benefit.

FFF treasurer Bernard Desumer agreed that the 2010 World Cup resulted in image, moral and, not least, financial damage. “The financial outcome of the 2009-10 accounts would have been excellent had it not been for the serious events in South Africa,” he said.

However, US$2.6872056 was saved from spared World Cup bonuses for the players and the administrative staff. They were invested in the bid for hosting the 2016 Uefa European Football Championship, which proved to be successful.

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