Dhaka, Aug 27 (UNB) - Robi Axiata, a telecom company, has withdrawn from its title sponsorship deal with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
“Robi has withdrawn their sponsorship deal of the Bangladesh national team," said BCB Chief Executive Officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury.
In a statement on Sunday, Robi only said, “The current deal falls short in upholding the spirit of the agreement.”
The reason behind Robi’s pulling out of a two-year contract for the second time, which was due to extend until the 2019 World Cup, since individual player endorsements with rival brands weren’t solved completely.
However, Robi signed a two-year title sponsorship contract with BCB first in 2015.
BCB has expressed surprise over Robi’s decision as Chowdhury said, “Robi's decision has surprised us. Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal discontinued their individual deals with mobile companies. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is also in the process of discontinuing his deal with Grameenphone. We were going through this process and they were informed about it.”
“They [Robi] have said that they took this decision since individual player endorsements with conflicting brands weren’t getting solved completely. But we felt that they had a different strategic reason,” Chowdhury added.
“We couldn’t entirely accept their way of thinking as we took a number of steps after discussing this with Robi,” Chowdhury continued.
“Individual players’ endorsements with conflicting brands had been included in the terms with Robi in their second two-year deal, so Mashrafe's personal deal with Grameenphone wasn't a problem. Still, BCB had asked the ODI captain to end his deal with Grameenphone, who had parted ways with Tamim following the board's directive earlier this year. Shakib terminated his deal with Banglalink, another telecom company, for the same reason.”
“These deals were done in different times. Mashrafe signed up [with Grameenphone] when there were no terms with Robi regarding the conflict, during the first two-year deal. It was added later. We addressed it accordingly when Shakib and Tamim did their deals. We mentioned in the settlement agreement with Robi that we are trying to come out of these deals.”
“Individual players’ conflicting brand has been in discussion for quite some time… We needed breathing space, and we were reaching a settlement with Robi. So this sudden decision is disappointing. Still, we thank them for their support,” said Chowdhury adding “It was a matter of time before they were told to come out of their contracts.”
BCB will now look for a title sponsor ahead of the Asia Cup, which is three weeks away. “Legal teams from both sides are settling the matter,” Chowdhury said adding, “We will claim the full amount during the course of our contracted period.”
“We will send out a circular in the next day or two, as we are looking for a new sponsor before the Asia Cup.”