As most of you know by now, Standard Chartered has been accused by The New York Department of Financial Services of breaking US law by hiding over secret 60,000 transactions with Iran (full story).
Standard Chartered have issued a statement rejecting this (here).
As an American I was alarmed and disturbed by this, after all the Standard Chartered logo is on the LFC shirts that I wear. I can’t be hanging around the local shopping mall wearing that can I? Baseball, Basketball and American Football shirts don’t have shirt sponsors, the logo up front is usually that of the team. Many people here don’t realise that the shirt is a club shirt and not a corporate shirt. I still laugh when I remember the story of when I was at the grocery store and bought a six-pack of Carlsberg, the store clerk looked at me and said “I didn’t know that in Europe they have soccer teams owned by beer companies”.
I am sure that Warrior and F.S.G. are not happy with this event, the US market is huge when it comes to merchandise for the club and the shirts are a big part of that. Almost every Liverpool fan here in the US owns at least the home shirt if not also the away shirt and in some cases all three shirts. Web sales figures issued by the club consistently show that the rather small fan base in the USA does spend huge when it comes to shirts and other club merchandise.
Some fans have been quick to say “Drop Standard Chartered, bring back Carlsberg”, some even wanted Crown Paints. Let us be realistic a bit here. Carlsberg had a great deal with L.F.C. and can’t afford to pay the money demanded by the club for the sponsorship when it came time to renew. Same with Crown Paints, they will have to sell a lot of paint to afford the £20 million a year sponsorship.
I believe that the story will likely blow over in a few days and no one will remember it as the news-media focuses on some new story, although the investigations will likely continue. I think in the long run this will be positive for the club, it will put us in more of a position of strength in future negotiations with them. When they announced that they were going to sponsor us we were in the Champions League, unfortunately we have played in the Champions League with their shirt sponsorship yet. Many rumours also mentioned that they (Standard Chartered) were upset about the whole Suarez/Evra affair last season and put pressure on the club over it.
Well, if that is true look who has the moral high ground now?