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South Africa scraps plans to sponsor Tottenham kit sleeves starting next season

The proposal went down like a lead balloon in the African country.

The flag of Republic of South Africa seen in the gallery of... Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s 2023-24 kit sleeves will not be advertising tourism for the nation of South Africa after all. Today, BBC Africa is reporting that the proposal from the South African tourism board to invest £42m in Tottenham Hotspur to be its primary sleeve sponsor starting next season has been shot down. The proposal had been conditionally approved, but halted by South Africa’s parliamentary tourism committee.

South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu had proposed investing in Tottenham as a means of increasing the visibility of South Africa as a tourism destination as the country continues to emerge from economic struggles and lockdowns during COVID-19. However, the country is currently experiencing rolling blackouts that affect a good percentage of its citizens, and the idea of spending that much money to sponsor an English football team turned out to be deeply unpopular with a sizable chunk of South Africa’s people.

Members of South Africa’s parliament also called for an investigation into how and why the proposal was able to be pre-approved.

South Africa would’ve represented a sizable increase in yearly income from the current £10m sleeve sponsorship deal it has in place with European used car company Cinch. It’s not clear now what will happen with Spurs’ existing partnership with Cinch or if Tottenham has a backup plan for its kit sleeves going forward.