Football:Big blow to inter-island showpiece

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Following last year’s spectacular Centenary Muratti celebration, sponsored by Cherry Godfrey, this year’s final is facing a serious scaling down.

JFA vice-president Charlie Binet said: ‘We are still looking for a sponsor and I’m reasonably confident we will have one in place soon.

‘Sponsorship goes a long way to help defray expenses and it is worthwhile for any company that comes forward.

They get their name linked with the Muratti and they can advertise fully at the ground on the day.

‘Last year was a one-off and it was very impressive.

It will be scaled down this time although sponsors will still get good coverage by way of the build-ups to the match thanks to the media.’ Steve Dewsnip, GFA director for commercial sponsorship and public relations, confirmed that following Cherry Godfrey’s withdrawal after last year’s event, organisers of the biggest match in Channel Islands football have so far drawn a blank.

There was no explanation about why Cherry Godfrey had pulled out but the 2005 Muratti was dogged by controversy with disputes over media access to the match and the price of match tickets.

The future is unclear.

Dewsnip said: ‘Several discussions have taken place with potential sponsors but to date no sponsor has been found.

Discussions are continuing with other potential sponsors.

‘The Inter-Insular Committee remain hopeful of finding a suitable sponsor and continue to believe that this represents a fantastic opportunity to get involved with what is undoubtedly the Channel Islands’ premier sporting event.’ The Muratti has been sponsored for the past 11 seasons with TSB having been the inaugural partner in 1995.

The bank backed it for three years before it became the Lloyds TSB Muratti for one year in 1998.

Builders’ merchant Norman Piette took it on in 1999 for three years before Cherry Godfrey moved in for the 2002 game and took the sponsorship to new heights through to the Centenary games.

It is understood Cherry Godfrey paid £20,000 for the 2005 competition of which £8,000 went to each of the GFA and JFA and £4,000 to Alderney.

Two of the three sponsorship deals were obtained through the GFA and former inter-insular committee secretary and GFA vice-president Tony Blondel said: ‘It’s time for Jersey to pull their finger out’.

Blondel said the lack of a sponsor will be bad for the game but will have ‘no impact on the people who go to the game’.

‘The impact will be felt by the local associations who won’t get as much money and will have to pay their travel costs,’ said Blondel.

Binet, in response to those comments, said: ‘Tony is nothing to do with Inter-Insular any more, I’m surprised at his comments.

It’s his opinion, although, yes, it would be great to have a Jersey sponsor linked to the Muratti for a change.’

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