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Eels sure they can replace major backer

Parramatta NRL club are losing long-time major sponsor Pirtek, but chief executive Ken Edwards is confident they can be replaced despite the on-going drug saga.
Eels sure they can replace major backer
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

SYDNEY, Feb 19 AAP - Parramatta NRL club are losing long-time major sponsor Pirtek, but chief executive Ken Edwards is confident they can be replaced despite the on-going drug saga.

Edwards said his recent experiences indicated corporate Australia still had a high level of confidence in the NRL despite the publicity surrounding the recent Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report into use of banned performance-enhancing drugs and links to organised crime.

On Tuesday, Parramatta confirmed their deal with naming rights sponsor Pirtek, the Eels major sponsor since 2005, would end after the 2013 season.

Edwards said a mutual decision to end the agreement was made on February 1 - before the AAC report came out.

He denied reports that the club had deliberately priced itself out of a contract renewal with Pirtek because of a strained relationship between the company's chief executive Glenn Duncan and the club.

Edwards said he was confident and comfortable the club would find a new major sponsor for 2014 that could meet their reported sponsorship level of $1.5 million.

He said Parramatta had already had some informal discussions with a couple of organisations and wasn't concerned the ACC revelations would make it more difficult for Parramatta to land a new major sponsor.

"I have a different view to some others. I honestly don't think so," Edwards said on Tuesday.

"The boardrooms that I have been in over the last few weeks would indicate to me that there is a high level of confidence in corporate Australia that the NRL and the other sports will deal with this appropriately.

"That they will take a strong position that there is a zero tolerance position for drugs in our sport."


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