SA Tourism pull out of Spurs shirt sleeve deal after public outcry over spending

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February 9 – South Africa has scrapped a £42.5 million sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur before it even got off the ground following a national outcry.

Spurs had provisionally agreed a three-year sponsorship deal that would have started next season and seen South Africa Tourism appear on the team’s shirt sleeve, training kit and media backdrops.

South Africa’s tourism board would have received benefits such as stadium hospitality, matchday advertising and training camps in the country.

But the agreement provoked fury in South Africa which has been rocked by power cuts, water shortages and worsening poverty. There was strong opposition in South Africa’s parliament with calls for the money to be spent domestically.

As a result, the sponsorship was scrapped at a meeting of the country’s tourism parliamentary committee on Tuesday, with committee chairperson Thandi Mahambehlala saying: “This deal, it ends here, today, now. There must be an investigation on this matter with immediate effect.”

Scrapping the deal is a blow to Tottenham’s attempts to further grow their commercial revenues.

Last week, South African Tourism’s acting chief executive officer Themba Khumalo attempted to justify the deal by saying it was about promoting South Africa in the United Kingdom rather than being a pure football deal.

“The money that is invested in tourism isn’t money that’s required for other needs in the country. There are departments that are dedicated to that,” said Khumalo

“Ours is to spend money to persuade travellers to come to South Africa to spend money.”

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