Churchill Brothers try hard to save sponsorship

Seeks to isolate Team form individuals
Last Updated 08 January 2010, 11:55 IST

The deal came under strain after three footballers allegedly molested an airhostess.
"Many players come, players go. Musli Power Xtra (club sponsors) has come to the club, not to any player," Alemao said while addressing a joint press conference with Musli Power Xtra office bearers here in south Goa Friday morning.
"Odafa is the best player in India now. But earlier we had Yakubu who was the best player," Alemao said.
Kerala-based Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, whose product Musli Power Xtra has inked a Rs 18 crore sponsorship deal, the biggest in south Asia, with the club, is contemplating a review of the deal after inquiring into Tuesday's alleged molestation incident involving Churchill Brothers players.
Alemao is struggling to save the multi-crore endorsement deal, , which came under threat after three of the club's top players, including star striker Odafa Okolie from Nigeria, were Tuesday accused of molesting an airhostess on board a Spice Jet flight to Mumbai.
Following the complaint, the entire 23-member team, which had boarded the aircraft en-route to Kolkata to play an I-league game with Mohun Bagan, was offloaded at Mumbai airport and criminal charges filed against the three accused.
Alemao in the press conference also refused to endorse Odafa's contention that he was being individually targeted because he was a foreigner.
"He may be saying what is in his mind. But this is a conspiracy against the entire team, not him alone," Alemao said.
Three Churchill Brothers players including Nigerians Odafa Okolie and Ogba Kalu and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya had landed in a controversy after they allegedly molested an airhostess and misbehaved with the crew on board a SpiceJet flight from Goa to Kolkata.

The club had alleged that it was part of a conspiracy to prevent its top players including Odafa, the highest-paid footballer in the Indian League, from playing in their match against rivals Mohun Bagan, who the team had beaten to claim FIFA Shield and Durand Cup last year.

Total Sports Asia (TSA), a sports marketing agency, which had brokered deal between Churchill brothers and Musli Power Xtra, also shared Alemao's view.
"Sahara did not cancel the sponsorship of Indian cricket team when some players were found involved in match fixing. They had sponsored the cricket team and the game of cricket," TSA official Tuhin Mishra, who was present for the press conference, remarked.
"Churchill Brothers is the number one football team in India and by sponsoring Churchill brothers, Musli Power Xtra has sponsored part of India," TSA's managing director Suvrangsu Mukherjee said.

Earlier, K C. Abraham, Managing director of Kunnath pharmaceuticals, the makers of Musli Power Xtra, said that the company would launch a time-bound private enquiry into the episode, which would involve speaking to Spice Jet crew, police officials and passengers.
"We will complete the enquiry within 20 to 30 days. After that we will meet again and discuss what will happen in the future after we get the other side of the story," Abraham said, adding that the sponsorship would continue until the second meeting.

He said a final call on reviewing the sponsorship deal will be taken after the probe had concluded within a month.

(Published 08 January 2010, 11:32 IST)

Follow us on