Will £20m Nationwide show FA the red card?

Well it must be very tempted to, as the UK Football Association’s flagship sponsor it has seen its new £20m offer for the next four years (down from £25m) cold-shouldered by the hapless governors of the national game who have commissioned sports rights firm IMG to find a better offer.

But who wants to sponsor the hapless English football team after the latest debacle at South Africa 2010?

The FA’s problem (one of quite a lot actually) is that it still has to keep up the payments on ludicrous national stadium Wembley, the £800m white elephant that can’t even provide a decent pitch.

Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society but one which has lost ground recently in the mortgage market to aggressive banks like Spain’s Santander, must be thinking it could do better things with the money.

In the past sponsoring English football has been attractive to foreign companies, like former FA Cup sponsor energy firm E.ON which has seen it as a way of earning a bit of much-needed popularity with the football-mad English.

But with English footballers now universally viewed as overpaid and overrated failures that no longer looks such a banker for the FA.

Poor old Fabio Capello, England’s Italian manager, now has to wait two weeks to hear if the FA wants him to stay on or prefers to throw good money after bad by paying him off (estimated cost £12m as the FA kindly extended his contract before the World Cup).

But the decision won’t be made solely by the FA. It will depend on the reaction of sponsors like Nationwide and their willingness to carry on funding this shambles.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.