News - Kia
Kia to see out Essendon contract
Not over: Kia will honour the final year of its Essendon sponsorship contract, but plans to look hard at any further involvement.
One more year of pain for Kia as it sticks by drug-scandal AFL club Essendon
12 January 2016
KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) says it will honour the final year of its five-year
multi-million-dollar major sponsorship with troubled Australian Football League
club Essendon in the wake of the supplements scandal that has cost 34 players a
However, it concedes that an extension of the contract will come under close
scrutiny before any decision is made later this year.
KMAu media and corporate communications general manager Kevin Hepworth told
GoAuto that Kia had been closely watching the latest developments.
“We have a contract in relation with Essendon Football Club, and that contract
has one more year to run,” he said. “At Kia, we honour our contracts.”
Although details of the sponsorship deal have been kept secret, media
guesstimates when it was signed in October 2011 suggest it was worth $10
million in cash and kind, including loan cars, in one of the biggest such deals
at the time.
It seemed that no sooner had the contract been signed than the supplements saga
broke, engulfing both Essendon and – by extension – Kia.
However, the South Korean company has stuck with Essendon through the
three-year drama, including various court cases, tribunal hearings and appeals.
Today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency’s
(WADA) appeal against the AFL Tribunal’s not-guilty finding against the 34
players and the club last year.
The players and club officials were all hit with 12-month bans – well above the
three months that many sports commentators predicted.
Twelve of the players, including club captain Jobe Watson, are still at the
club, while others have either retired or transferred to rival clubs including
St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and Melbourne.
Essendon will be allowed to call up fill-in players for season 2016, to at
least field a team.
The problem for Kia is that the drama is not yet over, with the prospect of
player law suits against the club potentially lingering over several more