On Sunday night, the governance of the Norwegian Chess Federation Congress (NSF) voted against the ‘cooperation deal’ proposed by Kindred Group Plc flagship subsidiary Unibet.
This June, Unibet marketing had propositioned a five-year principal sponsorship deal of the NSF, valued at NOK 50 million (€5m), representing Norwegian Chess’ biggest ever sponsorship.
Lottstift, Norway’s national gambling regulator, would warn NSF governance ‘to consider the consequences’ of partnering with an unlicensed gambling firm.
Furthermore, the NSF would face further pressure from Norway’s Ministry of Culture and broadcaster TV2 (Egmont Group) to reject the ‘controversial proposal’, as NSF forms part of a collective seeking to win the rights to host the ‘2020 Chess World Cup’ in the city of Stavanger.
Seeking legal advice, the NSF would detail to its stakeholders that it would make a formal decision on whether to proceed with Unibet sponsorship this July.
This Sunday, Kindred Group issued a formal statement, confirming that NSF would forgo its sponsorship, with the Stockholm-listed enterprise stating that it ‘respects the decision taken by the Chess Congress’.
”We want to commend the board of the Norwegian Chess Federation for being extremely strong through a demanding exchange of opinions leading up to this Sunday’s Congress. The same leadership have, through the 11-month process leading to the final deal proposal, impressed us through their inquisitive and responsive approach, and clear and challenging dialogue with us as a potential partner. The members of the federation have now made a choice, and that choice deserves respect,” detailed Rolf Sims, Public Affairs Manager of Kindred Group.
The online gambling group states that the debate surrounding its proposition, shows a ‘a great care for chess’ in Norway, whilst further highlighting the ‘positive and negative sides about the current monopoly and a licensing model’.
Concluding its Norwegian update, Kindred Group stated that it would continue ‘working towards allowing sports, volunteer work and other associations not supported by the current monopoly model the possibility of better financing opportunities.’
“We will continue tirelessly in our daily work towards an alternative gambling model in Norway. Such a model would benefit everyone in a better way than the current monopoly system, where half of all online gamblers fall outside of the pervue of the Norwegian government, and where a large part of Norwegian sports, culture and volunteer work are not supported by the gambling funds collected by the Norwegian government” – Kindred Group detailed in its statement.