Speaking at the Soccerex European Forum, Gavin Laws, the group head of corporate affairs at Standard Chartered, has claimed that their sponsorship with English Premier League soccer club Liverpool was not affected by the team’s failure to reach the UEFA Champions League, stating it was “not that important” to the club’s shirt sponsor.
Having missed out on a top-four finish in the league last season, Liverpool had to settle for the Europa League, and with the team sitting eight points adrift of the final qualifying place with only eight games remaining in the current domestic campaign, the club’s participation in Europe’s top club competition next season is unlikely.
However, speaking alongside Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre, Laws insisted that the Champions League was not an integral part of the partnership, which was sealed with the aim of taking the financial institution’s brand into Asia, a key market for the Premier League.
Laws stated: “They are a top four club in people’s minds and although the on-field performances are nice to have, the Champions League is not that important to us as the games happen when people in Asia are asleep. I don’t think English football has fully realised the potential of the Premier League abroad – it is getting bigger and bigger.”
He added: “The real power for what Liverpool could do for us, and I think for the English Premier League, is if there was a way they could nurture foreign players from Asia … a great Asian player — you see what Park Ji-sung does for Manchester United.
“The markets in Asia and the Middle East are so nationalistic, they are very proud about their countries. (Matches) become huge events. One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier League, and you’d have the whole of Dubai watching it.”