National Shirt Sponsorships: Good or Bad?
With the FIFA Presidential vote coming up in February, many candidates are voicing new ideas for the controversial governing body of football. The one idea that seems to stand out among the rest and really grab fan’s attention is Tokyo Sexwale’s concept to allow sponsorship on national team shirts in order to help cash-strapped countries.
Now sponsorship is not a foreign concept in football kits, as every club team has at least one sponsor on their shirts. However, national team kits are currently not allowed to have sponsorships on them. FIFA seems to want a ‘clean jersey approach’ for the national kits but do not mind it for regular season kits. And many fans seem to agree with this idea as a good sum of them balk at the idea of national team kits having sponsors on them due to the fact that the game’s sanctity has been sold out for money. National team jerseys are sacrosanct in many fan’s eyes, and something that should never go so low as to having a sponsor. In addition, several fans think the national jerseys are sacred and should not be soiled with sponsorships and the concept of making money. They want clean-cut kits that are not influenced by the advertising world for once.
Nonetheless, FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale does not view the national sponsorship kits in the same way; he believes the revenue from these shirt sponsorships would help poorer countries out. He stated, “The big, rich associations may not need shirt sponsorship but for the poor countries the money from sponsorship could change the ball game completely.” Sexwale does not seem concerned with huge companies that would make even more money from this proposed idea, he seems to genuinely care for the smaller and poorer nations who struggle and could really use that extra money. Sexwale believes the revenue could be in the millions and help the countries with a variety of things.
Sexwale also thinks that this decision must be a group effort and that no one should be forced into it; he believes it should be presented in a democratic way. He states, “I completely understand but let it be a choice, a democratic issue is what I am bringing forward.” So Sexwale seems to be open with people not totally agreeing with his idea and letting everyone decide together instead of trying to force an issue down people’s throats.
In conclusion, each side has valid points and arguments, but only one will win. I personally think the fans will win if this is presented in a democratic way as Sexwale says he will. FIFA is already in a lot of trouble and still viewed as very controversial and I do not think a controversial idea will help them gain their reputation back. They need to give the fans what they want and stay on people’s good side, and messing with an age-old rule will not do that. Even though Sexwale has a good point about helping poorer countries out, the overall concept just gives more money to huge companies who honestly do not need that money. It also messes with the sacredness of national kits and messes with tradition, which will not go over well with fans. If Sexwale is voted for, I personally think he should drop the issue because of the thin ice FIFA is skating on, but only time will tell.
Which side are you on? What do you think? Comment your thoughts below.