Island Games' lead sponsor to step aside

NATWEST’S discontinuation of financial support for the Island Games is not a result of recent global events and will not threaten the status of the biennial festival, according to a leading Jersey official.

Guernsey is set to host the Island Games for the third time in 2021 – the last event to be backed by NatWest International Picture: DAVE PEARSON
Guernsey is set to host the Island Games for the third time in 2021 – the last event to be backed by NatWest International Picture: DAVE PEARSON

Island Games Association of Jersey president Steve Jacobs is unconcerned by news that the bank will sever its ties after the 2021 Games in Guernsey and says future hosts could, in fact, benefit through fresh deals with new backers.

NatWest took on the role of lead sponsor in time for Gotland 1999 and have provided hundreds of thousands of pounds to every host since.

Jacobs said: ‘It has been spoken about for a few years ... I think they were reconsidering on an annual basis from as far back as 2011, when Jersey was awarded the Games for 2015. We’ve been lucky that the people who have been dealing with it from NatWest are based in Jersey but that could be changing.’

Asked whether he fears future Games could be hindered in any way, starting with Orkney 2023, he said: ‘No, not at all. It’s a good sponsorship deal for someone. The Games reaches right across the world with 23 islands ... that’s why NatWest stayed in for so long.

‘For the host island each year it’s a bit of cash for them and hopefully there will be other people out there who will take it up. You never know, we might find someone who can give more money – not necessarily a bank – and I know the international committee, once the contract is terminated, will be searching vigorously for a replacement.’

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