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Ed Warner: Don’t criticise British Cycling for accepting sponsorship from Shell

Ed Warner: Don’t criticise British Cycling for accepting sponsorship from Shell

British Cycling has signed an eight-year sponsorship with Shell Disclaimer No1: I don’t think I’ve written anything in support of British Cycling down the years.…

Thursday, Oct 20

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British Cycling has signed an eight-year sponsorship with Shell Disclaimer No1: I don’t think I’ve written anything in support of British Cycling down the years. Quite the opposite in fact. But I can’t bring myself to add my name to the lengthening petition that splutters in indignation about the governing body’s sponsorship deal with Shell. So, here’s a first for me.

British Cycling’s eight-year contract with Shell was announced on Monday last week. Within hours the backlash – the favourite description employed by the commentariat – was in full swing.

A day later it was reported that there were over 700 signatories to an open letter calling for the sponsorship to be withdrawn. Last I looked, there were 1266 names appended. “Athletes and especially cyclists are vulnerable to the lethal air pollution that comes from the burning of fossil fuels, and the estimated 8.7m deaths that result each year globally from that pollution,” the letter to British Cycling reads.

It’s unclear who the original author of the letter is, but if you have “any major issues” with it you are invited to email Robbie Gillett of Adfree Cities, which styles itself as “a network of groups across the UK who are concerned about the impacts of corporate advertising on our health, wellbeing, environment, climate, communities and the local economy.”

Well, my first major issue is that without advertising, most organised sports’ finances are royally screwed. If you’d like to watch live sport without arena-side hoardings or logos on athletes’ shirts, go ahead. Do […]

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