Huawei quits oldest sports sponsorship deal after 9 years | World

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The sponsorship was seen as an attempt to improve Huawei’s public image in the eyes of lawmakers and senior bureaucrats who barrack for the Canberra team.

Raiders board member Dennis Richardson, a former head of the Defense Department and of the main domestic spy agency, Australian Security Intelligence Organization, had been a vocal supporter of Huawei’s sponsorship deal.

Huawei Australia’s chief corporate affairs officer Jeremy Mitchell suggested that a decision of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government in 2018 to ban the company from Australia’s 5G networks was at least part of the sponsorship decision.

“Even after the Turnbull government banned us from 5G we managed to find the resources to continue the sponsorship, but we just can’t financially support it any longer,” Mitchell said in a statement.

The statement makes no mention of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the business environment.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said the team was “very sad” to be losing its major sponsor. Neither Huawei nor the team has ever made public the value of the sponsorship.

“The Canberra Raiders and Huawei have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for nearly a decade – they have been by far our longest serving major sponsor,” Furner said in a statement.

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