Sponsors left shocked and disappointed over Cricket Australia scandal

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 26 March 2018

Cricket Australia sponsors Qantas, XXXX Gold, Sanitarium and Toyota have expressed “disappointment” and contacted the sports administrator to explain the “shocking” behaviour by the Australian cricket team in the third test of the South African tour.

On Sunday morning, Australian captain Steven Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft admitted to cheating by orchestrating a ball tampering plot using a piece of sticky tape that Bancroft tried to conceal when caught on the big screen in the stadium.

Smith was stripped of his captaincy and banned for the final match of the series while Cricket Australia launches an investigation.

The news has drawn screams of outrage across social media, in talk show TV studios and from the global cricket fraternity, with Australian ex-players shocked by the scandal. Across the nation, newspaper frontpages have slammed the Australian cricket team actions as "shameful" and a "disgrace".

Even Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and the taxpayer funded Australian Sports Commission has chimed in.

AdNews approached several of Cricket Australia's sponsors to gauge a response from the brands backing Australia's national sport.

A spokesperson from International partner Qantas told AdNews: “This is deeply disappointing and certainly not what anyone expects from our national cricket team. We are in discussions with Cricket Australia as this issue unfolds.”

ASICS Oceania GM marketing Sam Chew stated:

"Obviously we're very disappointed with what some of the senior playing group have decided to do.

"CA is conducting an investigation so we are holding off on acting until we know the results of the investigation. So right now there isn't a lot we have to say, we want to know what happened, who said what and how things transpired before we act.

"We are in contact with CA, they are very open and transparent with sponsors."

New beer backer Lion, the owner of XXXX Gold, added: “Like the rest of Australia we are deeply concerned, this is not what you would expect from anyone in sport at any level.”

Sanitarium, which has a close relationship with brand ambassador Smith, described the fiasco as a “a very sad moment for Australian sport”.

“Cricket Australia updated us on this issue as the story broke yesterday and we’re continuing to follow this issue closely,” a spokesperson added.

“Regarding our relationship with Steve Smith, we will assess our response once the management team of Cricket Australia has finalised its investigations. Certainly its under review as the actions taken by the team in South Africa don’t align with our values – Sanitarium does not condone cheating in sport.”

Skins executive chairman Jaimie Fuller took the time to pen an open leter to the board of Cricket Australia. While not a direct sponsor of the organisation, Fuller urged for them "get your job right."

Specsavers couldn't turn a blind eye to its disappointment in the team.

"As a partner of Cricket Australia, we were shocked and disappointed to learn of the events involving the Australian Men’s Cricket team in South Africa. It is a very concerning situation and Specsavers in no way condones the behaviour of those involved," a spokesperson said.

A Toyota spokesperson added: "We understand that Cricket Australia are taking it really seriously and we are confident that they will take the appropriate steps to get it sorted. The company will await further investigation from Cricket Australia.”

Meanwhile, Ashes series naming rights sponsor Magellan said it would be looking for a swift response from Cricket Australia.

"We're deeply concerned about it, it involves cheating, in no way would we condone it in what we do," Magellan chief executive and co-founder Hamish Douglass told the Australian Financial Review.

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