Red Devils lose key sponsor

The Verelst Construction Company, a key sponsor of the Belgian Football Federation, URBSFA, for 10 years now, has ended its collaboration with the federation.

The contract was normally scheduled to run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but its clauses allowed the parties to end it earlier.

“From a commercial point of view, Russia is not at all interesting for us,” Verelst Chief Executive Officer Kurt Geens said on Thursday.

URBSFA and Verelst announced on Thursday that their collaboration would end at the end of October. The construction company was one of the 13 main sponsors of the national football team, the Diables Rouges (Red Devils).

“For our company, that represents a considerable sponsoring budget,” Geens said. “The World Cup in Russia, to be held next year, thus no longer interests Verelst. “Russia is much less attractive than Brazil (where the last World Cup was played),” Geens added. “Getting clients to go there would have required too much effort of us.”

Verelst began sponsoring the team at a time when the Red Devils were only about 70th in the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) rankings. Now that it has become one of the top teams, the company feels it’s time to switch to something else. However, Geens did not disclose his future intentions.

The Federation thanked the construction firm on Thursday. “We have not forgotten that Verelst came on board at a time when few people believed in our federation and our football,” URBSFA said. “They helped enormously in the constructing of the Belgian Football Centre in Tubize.”

A federation spokesperson disclosed that negotiations were being held with new potential partners.

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