Cambodian Football Federation (CFF) officials are in a fiscal scoring slump, claiming a sponsorship agreement with Marlboro is unfairly depriving the league of revenue.
Marlboro gives the CFF $90,000 during the federation season, known as the Marlboro league, according to CFF Deputy Secretary General Keo Sareth. He said under the sponsorship agreement, Marlboro has the rights to exclude other cigarette manufacturers from becoming sponsors.
Keo Sareth said each Marlboro League team receives $100 for each game, as well as accommodation and transportation expenses for the three teams based in the provinces.
The CFF receives little additional revenue beyond the sponsorship because of marginal attendance figures, Keo Sareth says.
He said the CFF believes it would be able to sign on cigarette maker Mild Seven as a sponsor, but Marlboro has blocked the move because of its agreement. The federation hasn’t found other commercial sponsors.
Keo Sareth said the league is suffering financially, adding its quality of play is falling far short of its potential due to an inability to pay players.
As a result, the league is finding it difficult to generate the level of fan support and attendance it was counting on this year, he says.
“The quality of play is being hurt because there is not enough money. If we want the best players, we have to pay more money,” Keo Sareth said.
Employees for Marlboro in Vietnam declined comment. A company supporter said the terms of sponsorship are normal.
“When you’re a sponsor and you give that much money, it’s absolutely routine that you have product exclusivity,” said the supporter, who asked not to be identified.
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