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Wonga, Newcastle United, Shirt Sponsorship & Hypocrisy

9 years ago

I note with weary resignation, that the subject of our association with ‘Wonga’ has cropped up again. This time via Cisse and Tiote’s apparent objection to the nature of the sponsor.

Whilst I would have preferred a reputable local company, like Sage for example, I just accept that top level football, and indeed most sports, parted company with any sort of probity or morality many decades ago. Many people agree that football is a financial cesspit, with Maharajan wages paid to mundane participants at boardroom, managerial and playing level.

Add to the mix the legions of rapacious agents bleeding away vast tranches of money from the game, for seemingly fairly basic level input, feeding on the festering carcass, and you wonder why you bother with it all.

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Maybe that is what is inducing the aroma of hypocrisy about this affair. What about the Premiership itself? Sponsored by Barclays Bank, and recently mired in the Libor rigging scandal, which seems to have gone quiet hasn’t it??

Look at the British and Irish Lions, currently filling hospital wards all over Australia. The shirt logo, and resultant advertising currently being hawked all over the ever scrupulous Rupert Murdoch’s Sky network, is of HSBC, recently fined nearly $2 billion in the US for laundering dodgy money from South American herbal exporters. They are also currently being investigated for similar transgressions in Argentina, yet their association with the rugby team is widely welcomed.

At a local level, politicians in the region have expressed their outrage. Newcastle city councillors inevitably at the head of the high horse.

Well, selecting a Newcastle street at random, say, Clayton Street, have a walk down there councillors. Every other shop is a pay day loan company of some description, although maybe on principle you don’t accept their rents and business rates from these bastions of financial respectability?

I accept fully that the argument – ‘Our sponsor is less dodgy than yours’ is a less than solid basis for an argument over morality but it doesn’t come with the overwhelming stench of hypocrisy.

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