Chinese company Huawei has announced to end its oldest sporting sponsorship contract in the world. The deal with the Australian rugby league team Canberra Raiders will terminate after the National Rugby League’s 2020 season. The nine years deal between Huawei and Canberra Raiders will be formally sealed after the final game. The final game will be played on October 25. The Chinese telecom firm has blamed a negative business campaign against the company as one of the reasons behind its decision to scrap the deal. Huawei in a statement confirmed that the deal will stand annulled at the end of the rugby league.
The sponsorship deal was renewed by Huawei just last year. As per the contract, Huawei was supposed to sponsor the Canberra Raiders for two more years. The deal was slated for expiry in 2021. Huawei said that a negative business environment in the country was affecting its resources. Notably, China had in past resorted to mount pressure on the government for a policy reversal, but it didn’t yield desired result. The company was even barred by the government from taking part in the country’s communication infrastructure in recent times. Huawei is the largest maker of switching gear in the world. It is well known for manufacturing consumer electronics and telecommunications equipment.
Huawei entered into a deal with Canberra Raiders in 2012. The deal was signed even as the Australian government had barred the Chinese firm from taking part in the country’s National Broadband Network just a year ago. The government had then cited security concerns as a reason to ban Huawei. The company’s Australia unit said that the state’s 2018 decision to block Huawei from 5G networks is among the one of the reasons to end the contract. It noted that even after the ban was imposed, the company took a decision to continue the sponsorship. Its top executive Jeremy Mitchell said that Huawei can’t financially support the rugby team any longer.