Manager Arsene Wenger has led the club into Europe’s lucrative club competition every season he has been in charge. But Arsenal are suffering their worst ever campaign under the Frenchman, are in danger of missing out on a trophy for the eighth straight year – and may yet struggle to qualify for Champions League football next year.
Now the club’s big backers, who have negotiated an extension on their contract to cover the five seasons from 2014-15, have disclosed they are taking precautions in case the club’s Champions League revenue and exposure suddenly dry up.
Emirates senior vice-president Boutros Boutros confirmed that the Dubai-based airline, which puts its name to both the stadium and Arsenal’s shirts, are planning to impose results-based precautions as part of any new deal.
“There are certain clauses, from 2015, that we pay them a percentage less if they don’t perform. ‘The Champions League is part of the new contract. It’s just to keep them on their toes. It’s fair to us and fair to them. Boutros insisted that Arsenal remained ‘an incredibly strong brand, well managed, with a great coach”. [Source: Dailymail]
I often point out the power of football sponsors. Where is the line they can cross? What influence do they have? What are their leverage tools? Emirates is outlining in a very blatant way that they are not willing to invest in a team that plays the underdogs. The Dubai based airline is not keen on pouring dollars (or pounds for that matter) in a failing football asset.
My take is that Emirates has all the rights to do this. As far as I am concerned, a sponsor is a partner. It doesn’t mean that the partner wants to lose money and financial power. If Arsenal do not make it to Champions League, it’s Emirates rights to review their sponsorship deal.
However, this pressure goes both ways. We recently understand that Manchester United put pressure on Nike for a better sponsorship deal. Fact is, whoever is in a financial upper hand voices concerns and raises expectations.