British Cycling has been struck another blow as HSBC has exercised a break clause in its contract and has ended a sponsorship deal that was supposed to run until the 2024 Olympics.BBC Sport reports
that the bank pulled the sponsorship due to a "shift in its UK marketing and partnership priorities" and the relationship will finish at the end of 2020.
The deal is thought to be worth 10mGBP a year
to the British governing body that has been rocked in recent years by accusations of bullying and sexism. Former British Cycling senior doctor Richard Freeman has also been charged with helping a rider to dope following a mystery testosterone delivery to the national velodrome, his tribunal will resume in spring. HSBC has also gone through its own turbulent period recently and announced last week that it will be axing 35,000 jobs after its profits fell by a third in 2019.
As part of the sponsorship deal, HSBC also the title sponsor of the UK national series for downhill and cross country. British Cycling told us that this will continue until the end of 2020 although it is unclear what will happen after that.
We spoke to an insider who told us that this isn't good news for British Cycling, especially as it comes during an Olympic year. They said that British Cycling funding is crucial for prize money and UCI fees for the national series and while this money isn't coming directly from HSBC it has to come from somewhere. Hopefully, British Cycling will be able to find another large sponsor before the end of the year to continue to provide this level of support for mountain biking in Britain.
Julie Harrington, chief executive of British Cycling, said: “On course to get over two million people cycling regularly, British Cycling’s partnership with HSBC UK has delivered lasting benefits for our sport and for communities up and down the country.
“We will part with HSBC UK as firm friends and, in the meantime, look forward to working with them to support our riders to achieve their best in Tokyo."