The British GMB union has urged Ford to disclose the terms of a multi-million pound sponsorship deal it has renewed with the Uefa Champions League football tournament.
The new agreement, which maintains the motor company’s status as a top-tier sponsor of the competition for a further three years, was made public yesterday.
Neither Ford – which in February announced plans to axe up to 850 jobs in the UK – nor Uefa have disclosed the financial details of the sponsorship, which will run until 2012.
“I think it is fantastically important for their (Ford’s) credibility and for the relationship with their workforce that they are honest and up front with what this has cost and what the benefits are,” GMB officer Justin Bowden told the Press Association’s www.thesportbriefing.com website.
“They should reveal the benefits to the company in terms of projected future sales and also to those executives who will be able to trot along to some of the top football games in Europe in the next three years.”
Deals with other top-tier sponsors, such as PlayStation, MasterCard and Heineken, were announced via separate press releases from European football’s governing body.
However, confirmation of Ford’s continuing involvement in the competition only came when Uefa released a statement yesterday to reveal it had attracted a “full complement of sponsors for the 2009-2012 cycle” – and named Ford as one of the commercial partners.
“Ford certainly would have got a lot more credibility from their employees if they were upfront about it,” Bowden added.
“The clear impression on the shop floor is that this is a deal that has been done in a smoke-filled room with the minimum of publicity.
“At the end of the day this deal is about advertising and about publicity and our members are getting a very mixed message over that.
“Our members would rather see the money spent on investment, both in the workforce and in any new product.”
In an email to www.thesportbriefing.com yesterday, a Ford spokesman said: “Ford has been a proud sponsor of the Uefa Champions League, Europe’s premier annual football competition, for the past 17 years.
“We are committed to continuing that passion, and look forward to continuing our sponsorship of the Uefa Champions League.”