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Sir Fred’s heroes are in the firing line

Corporate sponsorship is always a tough expenditure to justify and you’d have thought it would be even more difficult for nationalised banks such as Northern Rock and its sponsorship of Newcastle United FC or Lloyds Banking Group’s planned £65m funding for the Olympics.

In both instances, it could look rather like taxpayers are funding something that was not part of the packages they bought into.

But it seems some sponsorships are trickier than others and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s arrangements are a good deal trickier than most, largely because of the Sir Fred Goodwin factor and his alleged lavish spending on sports stars.

That’s why his old firm, now under new management, has announced that it is about to cut its sports sponsorship budget which includes an annual spend of around £7m on global ambassadors including Sir Fred the Shred’s heroes motor race ace Sir Jackie Stewart and golfer Jack Nicklaus. Of course, in the good old days when Sir Fred was a rising star and friend of leading politicians such as Gordon Brown such deals were negotiated on commercial principles and met strict corporate governance rules.

But now he has become a pensioner non grata to former political mates, life could get a little tougher for the likes of former Grand Prix world champion Sir Jackie who is said to have received some £4m from RBS for his ambassadorial role.

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