Storm's major sponsor reviews position - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's major sponsor reviews position

By Jon Pierik 11/08/2009 07:42:34 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm's lucrative million-dollar deal with major sponsor Members Equity (ME) Bank could be in jeopardy in the wake of Greg Inglis' assault charge.

Despite Storm chief executive Brian Waldron maintaining on Tuesday ME Bank had assured him there was "no issue" about cutting ties with the rugby league club, the bank told AAP it will review its position.

ME Corporate Affairs Manager Tony Beck revealed the bank was "concerned with the news that a Melbourne Storm player has been charged by the police".

"We respect and acknowledge that this is a matter for the Melbourne Storm rugby league club and the police," he said.

"We also respect and acknowledge that the club has moved immediately to suspend the player indefinitely.

"ME Bank has requested from Melbourne Storm rugby league club a full report of the incident once all facts and investigations have been completed.

"ME Bank will monitor the incident and make a full review of the sponsorship in the coming days."

ME Bank is in the first of a three-year deal with the Storm, believed to be worth more than a combined $1 million.

Staff at its Melbourne headquarters were flooded with phone calls from customers on Tuesday asking what action the company would take.

Waldron had told reporters at Storm headquarters on Tuesday that all sponsors would stick with the club.

"I have always got concerns with all our stakeholders when something like this occurs," he said.

"Fortuitously, we have a wonderful relationship.

"I have just spoken with the acting CEO of Members Equity and they have assured us there is no issue."

The Storm's second major sponsor, HostPlus, said it had no intention of terminating its long-time partnership.

Chief executive David Elia said the superannuation company had been "satisfied" with the Storm's handling of the incident.

Second-tier premium sponsor Suzuki met with the Storm on Tuesday in a meeting arranged before the Inglis charge emerged.

"We still have strong support for the Storm, no problems at all," Suzuki's General Manager of Automobiles, Tony Devers, said.

Waldron conceded the Storm's "brand" could take a short-term hit.

"Any time a situation brings your brand in to disrepute, it can certainly short-term have a dramatic impact," he said.

Inglis, 22, has been stood down indefinitely after being charged over an alleged assault on his girlfriend, Sally Robinson, in the early hours of Sunday.

He faces counts of recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault when he appears in Sunshine Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

NRL boss David Gallop said on Tuesday he was confident sponsors would stick by the code provided the governing body was seen to be doing its best to clean up the game's image.

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