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Angling Trust statement about end of Drennan Sponsorship of Team England

28.01.19

2017 Drennan England Nations Team silver team medal win in Belgium x550px

The Drennan England team celebrating winning team silver in Belgium in 2017

After an extremely successful 25-year period, the contract for Drennan’s sponsorship of the men’s national coarse angling teams has come to an end. In the 12 months leading up to this decision, the Angling Trust has responded to very detailed requests for information and new demands from Drennan, but it was not possible to reach agreement on the terms of the new contract and so very sadly the Angling Trust will be looking elsewhere for a sponsor.

The Angling Trust had understood that these discussions were private and confidential, as with all commercial contracts with our many sponsors, but they were reported on Fishermen’s Blues on talkSPORT on Sunday 27th January 2019 via a statement from Peter Drennan. The Angling Trust was not given the opportunity to reply to this statement on the programme. The failure of talkSPORT to offer the Angling Trust the opportunity to present the true facts was unprofessional and left us with no choice but to issue a formal complaint to OFCOM for a clear breach of the Broadcasting Code.

The history behind this issue is as follows:

Drennan International first contacted the Angling Trust in December 2017 reporting that they had received an anonymous letter claiming that £22,000 of sponsorship money had “gone missing”. The Angling Trust provided detailed accounts for Team England income and expenditure over the past 5 years which demonstrated that this very serious allegation was completely false and without foundation. Drennan International then asked for more financial information in April 2018 which was also provided.

In July, a further letter was received from Drennan which contained more questions and issues, including the fact that two Drennan-sponsored anglers had not been selected for the European championships. A full reply to this letter was sent in August 2018.

The Angling Trust contacted Drennan International at the end of September 2018 to renew the contract and met with Peter Drennan in October to discuss terms of what we hoped would be the continuation of a highly successful partnership. Drennan International then made several new requests regarding the management of the team and team selection.

The Angling Trust tried to negotiate a way of meeting some of these demands while retaining the independence of the Manager, but agreement could not be reached with Drennan International on these points or the arrangements for a further meeting. The views of any sponsor are of course very important, but it would be highly irregular and unacceptable for sponsors to influence the selection of teams or their managers.

Sadly, despite our commitment to keeping Drennan as sponsors, it became clear that the very successful partnership that has seen Team England consistently lead the world in angling would not be able to continue. The Angling Trust remains committed to spending our own considerable time and resources on supporting our teams at this level, which includes significant travel insurance and administration costs.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: “I am very disappointed that this longstanding contract has not been renewed but it became clear earlier this month that it would not be possible to meet the new and onerous requirements of the sponsor. I want to be absolutely clear that there is no evidence whatsoever of any funds from the sponsor going missing or of any other financial impropriety. Any suggestions to the contrary are entirely false. For the avoidance of doubt, we will happily make public our accounts for Team England for the past 5 years.

"The Angling Trust would like to thank Drennan International for all their support of the team over the past 25 years. Over the coming weeks, the Angling Trust will be seeking alternative sponsorship from other partners in the trade to ensure that our teams can continue to compete at the highest level and maintain our reputation as the country to beat on the international circuit. These discussions have already begun.”

Joint Managers Mark Downes and Steve Sanders said: “We would like to extend our huge thanks to Drennan International for their massive support over the last 25 years, our England teams would have found it difficult to achieve the current World No. 1 status without such support. But like everything, nothing lasts forever, we have a hugely talented squad that is brimming with experience and a great pool of youth talent that is rapidly making a name for itself on the International stage. We are confident that with this blend of youth and experience we will be able to maintain our No. 1 ranking well into the future and look forward to forging a great relationship with new supporters.”

Notes:


For full transparency we have opened access to all transactions from 2012 to 2017 relating to our Drennan sponsorship. Click here to access this file. At the time of compiling this report, the outstanding balance of sponsorship money was held safely in our bank account in the sum of £12,225 which is ring-fenced for the benefit of the sponsored teams. Float monies, which are provided to cover on-site costs, are fully accounted for by individual managers.

We have also published the letter received by Drennan (below) – which in no way supports the view expressed on talkSPORT that this letter originated from anyone at the Angling Trust.

Anonymous letter sent to Peter Drennan x500px


We have also responded to the most commonly received questions we have received since news that the sponsorship arrangement had come to an end. You can find our answers HERE.

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
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