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Major sponsor of NRL’s Cronulla Sharks halts payments

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Australian National Rugby League (NRL) club Cronulla Sharks has been dealt a financial blow after major sponsor, rainwater products manufacturer Ace Gutters indicated it will halt payments on its deal.

The Ace Gutters shirt sponsorship deal began in 2019 and is due to expire at the end of the 2020 season

Ace Gutters won’t make further payments to the Sharks until NRL fixtures are resumed following the league’s suspension due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Don Anderson, the Ace Gutters chief executive, told AAP: “We’re not getting the exposure. We’ve already paid part of one instalment for the amount of games we’ve had so far. Basically, that’s how it works.

“There’ll be no other money going to the Sharks until they start to play again.”

Elsewhere in the NRL, there is uncertainty around the future of the league’s naming rights agreement with telco Telstra after the brand indicated that it was in discussions with the sporting properties it sponsors on the impact of the current uncertainty on its deals.

The 2020 NRL season was suspended on March 23 after two rounds of matches had taken place.

The league will reportedly lose an estimated Aus$13m (€7m/$7.5m) for each round that isn’t completed.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys called the current “probably the biggest financial crisis the game will face in its history.”