Kookaburras goalkeeper Andrew Charter has exposed a crisis within Hockey Australia after the silver medal winning team was unable to secure a major corporate sponsor seven months out from the Paris Olympics.
Charter took to LinkedIn last night sharing an image of his player jersey that notably lacked a major front of shirt sponsor. “Today is a sad day for my sport,” the post read.
“That’s right the Kookaburras one of Australia’s most iconic sporting teams are not able to find a major corporate sponsor 7 months out from the Paris Olympics even after securing a silver in Tokyo, an agreement for all matches to be shown on 7+ leading into the event, a lack of scandal or controversy and a commitment from the WA government to provide training facilities for the next decade,” he said.
Charter finished his post with a call to action, appealing to corporations wanting to support the team. Channel 10 presenter Sandra Sully and former Hockey Australia board member shared the post on X (formerly Twitter) appealing for potential sponsors to step forward. “This is shameful” one X user replied, calling for a marketing campaign to get the team a sponsor.
This is not the first time that Hockey Australia has experienced funding issues. Funding for the Hockeyroos was cut by 50 per cent from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) back in 2021 after the team was eliminated in the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics. The reasoning was cited as there being limited expectations that the team would achieve gold in Paris – given the last time they achieved the honour was at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
The Kookaburras, on the contrary, have been one of the most celebrated Australian teams in recent history – having won silver in Tokyo and gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The men’s hockey final was one of the most watched events at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Australian hockey has always performed consistently and in an outstanding manner on the world stage … this is wrong on so many levels,” said ABC reporter Lucy Cooper on X.
“Given the success and appeal of hockey across the country and on the international stage, and in a year where millions of eyes will be on hockey ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, there is a huge and valuable opportunity here,” said Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles.
“We thank and appreciate our current sponsors, but like all sporting organisations we are always trying to increase revenue – the majority of which we invest back into our high-performance unit and the sport as a whole”.
Pryles also confirmed that they been able to secure a front of shirt sponsor for the Kookaburras through an existing partner for their upcoming FIH Pro League season 5 leg in India, which will see the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras play hockey’s top international teams from Sunday 4th February to Sunday 25th February.
In June, the the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos finished a two-year sponsorship agreement with mining giant Fortescue. In August, for the Oceania Cup, they wore a jersey sponsored by SportsLink Travel but the deal was only valid for the span of the tournament.
Despite being knocked out in the semi-finals of 2023 Hockey World Cup by Germany, The Kookaburras remain one of the favourites to claim gold in Paris.
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