Among a series of interim rule changes agreed by the ICC this week, teams will be permitted to place a sponsorship logo on the chest of their Test match shirt (in addition to the three logos allowed under current regulations). The relaxed rules, in place for 12 months, were introduced to help teams compensate sponsors for the loss of exposure through match cancellations.
The ECB has warned it could lose up to £380m in revenue due to match cancellations. Similarly, the West Indies, Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket are cutting staff costs by as much as 50%.
England’s home series against the West Indies is expected to be one of the first to present the new sponsor positioning. NatWest already feature prominently on the chest of England’s ODI and T20 kits. However, Telegraph Sport understands the ECB are in discussions about using an NHS logo as a thank you to frontline staff.
Arguably, the use of charity has the potential to ease any discomfort from fans – The Australian described the ICC’s move as the “desecration of the Test Player’s white clothing.” FC Barcelona famously used a similar tactic in 2006 when they appointed UNICEF their first ever front-of-shirt partner (before eventually replacing them with Qatar Airways).
However, given the difficulties of teams, fans, and sponsors a-like, the move should be received positively – charity or not. The increased recognition of a brand is a deserved reward for having stood-by their teams and supported the sport during this difficult period.
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