Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has shed some light on the situation around Blades jersey sponsors, USG, after it was announced that they will no longer be the main jersey sponsor next season.
Randox Health will replace the USG on the front of Sheffield United shirts for the next three seasons, although the club have already signed a three-year contract with the USG in 2019.
Now it looks like the deal ended prematurely after USG’s Australian subsidiary began operations last July.
Speaking on the Football Awards Podcast, Maguire explained, “The USG issue is a bit of a concern.
“USG in Australia went bankrupt and I was reading an article in the Australian press about an A $ 588 million ‘scam’, as it was said in the article, which involved high risk betting projects where investors, Chinese investors in particular believed they were buying into a more trade-based form of investment offering a 9.6% return.
“My first reaction when I read this was, ‘who would be foolish enough to believe the promises of a 9.6% ROI?’
“It’s ridiculously high, but there have clearly been enough people duped.
“And then we look at what happened with USG in Shanghai where customers were so upset that they stormed offices, hijacked offices and staff were taken hostage.
“It sounds like a company with a somewhat shady past – but USG in the UK in theory independent of USG in Australia and Shanghai.
“But we all suffer reputational damage because, as far as investors are concerned, USG is USG. If I buy an Apple iPhone here in the UK and something bad happens to Apple in the US, I still think Apple is Apple as far as I’m concerned.
“So in terms of the direct impact on Sheffield United… USG signed a three-year sponsorship deal which I think [took] us until 2022.
“It’s worth around £ 3.5million a year, but I suspect it contains a relegation clause which [would have] reduced money for 2021/22.
He added: “Does this have an impact on Sheffield United’s reputation? I would say no.
“The reason I say this is if we go back to what happened with Football Index with QPR and Nottingham Forest… both used this entity for sponsorship of his jersey when he took office.
“They ended their deals, I know Nottingham Forest has signed new sponsors for next season, and I don’t think anyone thinks more or less of them because of that, so I don’t think Sheffield United will have to worry about that. “