By Asanka Gammanpila
Despite not having a main sponsor for the entire first round of the inter club league, Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) finally tied the knot with the new sponsor Nippon Paint for the balance of the 2022 season.
The partnership with SLRs main sponsor for the last decade didn’t work out this time due to an unexpected dispute that cropped up between the parties regarding sponsorship rights.
Nippon Paint will be the new title sponsor for the 2022 season, which covers three tournaments - the rest of the league first and second round matches, Clifford Cup knock out and the seven’s tournament. With the new sponsor ‘A’ division inter club rugby league will now be called ‘Nippon Paint Rugby League’.
SLR President Rizly Illyas speaking at the media conference held yesterday to announce the new partnership with Nippon Paint, said they have tirelessly looked for a sponsor until they received a positive feedback from Nippon. “We have spoken to various companies and finally a guy who had a rugby background, former Old Peterson and Mahanama College rugby player Nemantha Abeyasinghe, General Manager, Nippon Paint, came forward to give SLR a boost,” said Illyas.
He further added during their discussion Nippon also showed an interest to sponsor SLR assets which are international rugby 7’s, 15’s, Women’s Rugby and U-21/U-24 inter provincial development tournaments as well.
“Our partnership with Nippon Paint - who have revolutionised the paint industry - I am sure would boost SLR rugby to the next level of winning a medal at an international tournament,” said Illyas.
Nippon Paint, which has a history of 140 years, has been with sports like cricket and motor sports before they signed this new partnership with SLR. “It is a pleasure to partner Sri Lanka Rugby which also has a huge fan base,” said Nemantha Abeyasinghe.
“This will be a fantastic opportunity for our company and hope this will be a great partnership “ we are sponsoring this year and hope it will continue for coming years,” said Abeyasinghe.
He further said, “Compared to all other sports, locally rugby has a huge spectator base, which is a plus point for the sponsors.”
Meanwhile, the Club 7s which was scheduled to be played in between the league to shortlist the national sevens pool ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, is now planned to be held after the league, either before the Clifford Cup knock out tournament or after the tournament.
According to President Illyas, SLR is awaiting confirmation from two clubs to finalise dates for the 7s tournament.
(Pic by Manjula Dayawansa)
By Asanka Gammanpila | Published: 2:00 AM Mar 11 2022
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