EVERYONE can fly with AirAsia, but not everyone gets funding without the
proper marketing proposals.
This more or less summed up AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk
Tony Fernandes' response last Friday to questions as to why they have not
sponsored Malaysian soccer.
Fernandes said last Friday he has had only verbal queries about AirAsia
sponsoring Malaysian football.
He was attending the marketing aspect of the Fifa Com-Unity Workshop, a
three-day event organised by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) which ended last
"Neither FAM nor any of the State FAs have formally forwarded a proposal
to us," said Fernandes.
"How can we sponsor anyone without any proposals?
"Of course, we are keen on associating ourselves with Malaysian soccer,
but we have to look at the proposals first."
Fernandes added funding these days is no longer a situation where the
sponsors just donate the money and do not get involved thereafter.
"Sponsorship these days is a business deal between parties, for the
mutual benefit of all concerned," he said.
Earlier this year, AirAsia signed a sponsorship deal with Manchester
The Red Devils, arguably the best-known football club in the world and
The fact that the English Premier League club, arguably the most well-
known in the world, wanted to tie up with Air Asia speaks volumes of how
professionally the airline operate their business and, despite being a
low-cost carrier, have had achieved international recognition.
The deal allows AirAsia, among other things, to share the perimeter
board advertising at Old Trafford, United's home ground, besides giving
the airline the right to use the club's name for promotional, advertising
and merchandising activities.
The tie-up, is believed to cost AirAsia about RM14 million
At the marketing workshop, Clare Kenny, Fifa marketing instructor in her
presentation on marketing and sponsorship, had said that entering into a
sponsorship is a commitment on both parties to achieve professionalism,
transparent and trusting partnership, open communication and client
"Sponsorship these days is a professional area and it has to be
approached in a formal manner," said Fernandes.
"We are open to proposals and will study all of them before making any
It is little wonder many State FAs are complaining about not securing
sponsorship. This is because they have been going about it the wrong way
without any clues on how to approach the issue in a professional manner.
It was sad the "right people" did not attend the workshop because it
would have helped Malaysian soccer be managed more professionally.
While there were a few State FAs who had their secretary-generals or
executive secretaries attending the workshop, others sent their committee
members or administration staff while some even got their coaches to be
Those required at the seminar were policy- and decision-makers in their
respective associations so that they could return and make immediate
changes for the better of Malaysian soccer.
The other areas discussed at the workshop were relationship management,
communication and media.
FAM, through their deputy-president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah,
have made a firm commitment at the end to place Malaysian soccer on a
better platform by taking a more professional route in all aspects of the
But whether the arms and legs of the national body - the State FAs -
will also provide the same commitment and take the road is the million