Australia’s richest person and his mining company struck a 15 million Australian dollar ($9.53 million) sponsorship deal with Netball Australia on Saturday after the former captain of his women’s team convinced players to demonstrate in favor of climate change.
Gina Reinhart and her company Hancock Prospecting, which mines iron ore (not coal), said she was withdrawing her sponsorship due to disunity within the sport and after inaccurate reports about her company’s work with indigenous communities.
Reinhart said players on the Diamonds netball team were upset about wearing the mining company’s logo on their uniforms.
Hancock promised to provide four months of funding to give Netball Australia time to find an alternative sponsor. The league is multi-million dollar in debt, with managers only securing Hancock as a partner last month.
“Hancock and Roy Hill were not made aware prior to the proposed partnerships of the complexity of the existing issues between Netball Australia and the Players Association,” the company said in a statement. statement.
Hancock Prospecting owns Roy Hill, which sponsors the Western Australia branch of Netball Australia and the West Coast Fever team.
The mining company noted that it was also unaware that players were pushing for “a very substantial increase in salaries” at a time when the sport “is in financial shock” and unable to raise the fees. wages.
“Hancock and Roy Hill do not wish to add to Netball’s disunity issues, and therefore Hancock has informed Netball Australia that it has withdrawn from its proposed partnership with immediate effect,” the company added.
The company noted that activists often “conveniently” neglect to understand that “mining is essential to obtaining the minerals essential to daily life.”
Inaccurate media reports
In a separate statement Addressing recent media coverage of the dispute, Hancock said sports sponsorship should be free from “social and political causes”.
“The reality is that sponsorship is an integral part of sports organizations – from full-time professionals to young children at grassroots level – who depend on businesses investing the funds that allow all sports not just to survive, but to thrive. “, indicates the state of the company. . “Unfortunately, recent media is not helping to encourage sports sponsors.”
Hancock also noted that he provided significant support to Indigenous communities.
The recent protest against Hancock is led by former national team captain Shani Norder, who asked team members whether the Diamonds should be associated with the mining giant.
She told Fox Sports that the mining giant “does not match the values of Netball Australia”.
“We’ve always stood for social justice, we’ve always been anti-gambling, non-smoking,” she said, saying there were other sponsorship opportunities. Some media presented the issue as a “player revolt” against Hancock’s support.
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