Andy Murray and Zara Phillips encouraged to quit RBS sponsorship

18 February 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
Sports stars which are being sponsored by banks that have received bail-outs from the taxpayer should consider cancelling their contracts, a minister has said.

Celebrities such as tennis player Andy Murray and equestrian granddaughter of the Queen, Zara Phillips, have signed deals as 'global ambassadors' for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), hired to entertain its clients.

RBS is thought to be paying out a total £200million worth of sponsorship fees to celebrity sports figures, and Treasury Select Committee member John Mann said that these stars should "consider that this is borrower's money."

Former motor racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart and golfing sports personality Jack Nicklaus also have contracts with RBS.

RBS has accepted a £20billion bail-out of taxpayers' money, and is expected to be heading for an annual loss of £28billion, Mr Mann argued, telling Reuters that he thinks it "would go down very well with the British public if some of them were to cancel their contracts."

Mr Mann added that "If some of them were to cancel their contracts they'd become real heroes."

RBS is also facing criticism for planning to pay up to £1billion in bonuses to staff, despite the taxpayer holding a 58 per cent stake in the bank, after announcing last week that it will be making 2,300 British workers redundant.

A spokeswoman for the bank said: "We are reviewing all our sponsorship activity as we look to cut costs.

"We are doing out best to strike the right balance between the benefits of sponsorships bring to our business and the communities they operate in while managing costs down within contractual constraints."

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