South Africa Suffers 'Major Blow' As Puma Ends Sponsorship Over Match-Fixing Claims
Puma has "ended its contract to sponsor the South African national football team after less than two years because of match-fixing allegations," according to REUTERS. The loss of a major sponsor is "a further blow" after the 2010 World Cup hosts "failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil." A FIFA report last year alleged the results of South Africa's pre-World Cup matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala leading up the '10 finals "were fixed." Puma, which took over the sponsorship from German rival adidas in '12, "was critical" of the way the South African Football Association dealt with the claims (REUTERS, 10/17). The BBC reported former SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani, who lost his post in last month's elections, and four fellow officials "were suspended" in '12 before "being reinstated a month later pending further investigation'' (BBC, 10/17). The INDEPENDENT ONLINE reported it was "a second sponsorship blow" for South Africa this week. Earlier this week, the Soccer-Laduma website reported that financial service provider Absa "would not renew their sponsorship of the Bafana Bafana side once the current deal expires in December" (INDEPENDENT ONLINE, 10/17).