VW pull brakes on Swallows
David Mathebula (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows are on the look out for a new sponsor after the long-term support from car manufacturer Volkswagen comes to an end in December, said the club's CEO Leon Prins on Thursday.
"Naturally it is never good news parting with a close associate and benefactor but that's the way it goes," said Prins.
"Swallows are a club with a long-standing reputation and tradition and have generally been able to attract meaningful sponsors in the past.
"I do not expect it to be any different now."
The lucrative sponsorship, which has extended for a period of almost nine years, will be terminated at the end of December.
The unexpected news was announced on Thursday in order to allow the club time to secure a new sponsor.
Prins said the German-based motor company had explained they were terminating their sponsorship in line with an overall switch in marketing strategy - and not through any dissatisfaction or hitches in their relationship with The Birds.
"We are already investigating a number of possibilities regarding a future backer or backers," said Prins.
The tradition-steeped, 66-year-old Soweto club had benefited in no small measure by their relationship with the car manufacturer, who had also helped in transforming the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.
Volkswagen's close association with German Bundesliga club Wolfsburg also gave The Birds a German connection which resulted in the purchase of Swallows by businessman Dieter Bock.
Following the death of the millionaire German business entrepreneur in 2010, Swallows formed part of his estate and has operated under that basis since.
Prins said the club was looking forward to the new season with much optimism.
"I've heard some critics proclaim that we did not go out and buy reinforcements like some of the other Premier League clubs" he said.
"But the answer is simple. We have already assembled an excellent, ready-made combination which -- by the tail-end of last season -- could hold its own with any team in the League."
Prins said the only first-team regular leaving the club was Bennet Chunene, who was signed by SuperSport United, along with the benched "Bird", David Mathebula.
New signings for the coming season are midfielder Thswarelo Bereng from United FC and defender Levi Mokgadi from Mbabane Highlanders.