The longest-serving major sponsor, Huawei of the Canberra Raiders, an Australian Rugby Team, has ended its nine-year-long partnership. Huawei, a Chinese telecom company’s announcement came after Australia‘s ban on essential national communication infrastructure.
In 2019, Huawei had renewed its sponsorship with the Raiders for two years. But they quit this year because of strained bilateral relations. It is not the first time that the Australian government banned Huawei. In 2011, they were banned on security grounds from involvement in the National Broadband Network rollout. To clear its name, Huawei decided to sponsor the Rugby team in 2012. The China- Australia diplomatic relations had started to worsen since the Australian government called for an inquiry to the COVID pandemic.
The ongoing dispute between the U.S. and the Chinese government over security and technology has not been favorable for Huawei. They have been blamed as a security risk by the U.S. government. The Chinese government, in the interim, is lobbying European allies to access their markets.
Coming back to the Raiders, the Rugby team has started performing well in the last few years. In last year’s premiership, they sat in 3rd place and are fifth-ranked in the ongoing season. Canberra Raiders had last won the premiership in 1994.
Anshula Thakwani Pattanayak