Football Federation Australia (FFA), is bracing itself for car manufacturer Hyundai to become the latest major sponsor to opt out of renewing commercial relations, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, www.sportspromedia.com/.
The FFA and Hyundai have been partners for the last 15 years, with the manufacturer putting its name to the A-League, the men's top-flight competition, in a deal currently worth approximately AUD$5 million (US$3.4 million) per season. The South Korean brand's latest contract also covers the W-League, the female equivalent, as well as the Socceroos and Matildas national teams.
The FFA is reportedly keen on negotiating an extension with its biggest backer, but it is looking increasingly likely it will have to start searching for a new headline partner, with Hyundai ready to walk away when its deal expires in four months' time.
The main factors behind the company's withdrawal are said to be declining public interest in the A-League and poor financial results in the motor vehicle industry. Hyundai is also apparently unhappy with the poor publicity surrounding FFA's sacking of former Matildas manager Alen Stajcic last year, which led to legal action and resulted in the soccer body reaching a financial settlement with its former employee.
The report adds that FFA is also under pressure from it broadcast partner Fox Sports, who are eager for the organisation to retain Hyundai.
Additionally, clubs in the A-League have apparently already been briefed about Hyundai's exit and have been told to refrain from including the brand's logo on jersey designs for next season due to the uncertainty.