It was shocking and done in bad taste. For the team from the 1 MAS program that will be participating in a tournament in Australia has been entered as Malaysia Air Asia.
While the administrators of the 1 MAS Program may be unaware of the consequences of their actions, it is indeed a shame that those entrusted as guardians of the 1 MAS Program, or in short the Task Force , have decided to commercialize the nations name to save a few ringgit.
Mind you the deal with Air Asia is not free for am told that it was a reduced ticket price that enticed the naming of the squad to Malaysia Air Asia. They still had to pay RM200 per ticket but is the honour of the country worth just a couple of thousand ringgits?
Let us not put the blame solely on the administrator whom I da sought clarification from. And Lim Chiow Chuan the Project Director was accommodating when asked just why this was done in the first place.
He was forthright and told this blog that that was the request or condition of sponsorship from Air Asia. And to Air Asia that was part of their ROI, or return of investment.
Now when I contacted a senior official involved in various deals of sports sponsorship in Air Asia, he was shocked that Air Asia resorted to such demands as it has never been their policy, not even when Air Asia kindly arranged for the first Harimau Muda team to train at the famous Carrington, home of Manchester United.
Infact Air Asia never asked for MyTeam to be called MyTeam Air Asia when they flew the participants of the reality to gram twice to Manchester.
If at all anyone has the naming rights, then it ought to be the government of Malaysia who fund RM3 million a year for the development program.
Now entry into any foreign tournament comes under the purview of the Malaysian Hockey Federation. Surely their administrative officials ought to be aware of the fact that one cannot commercialize the name of the country. When FIH are very strict on even short advertising then how is it that these "competent" MHF officials entered the team named as Malaysia Air Asia?
This is not the first time that MHF has commercialized the name of the country as two years ago they did the same when a team was sent to participate in the Surjit Memorial Trophy in Punjab.
So who was the smart Alec that was penny wise and pound foolish is selling cheaply the name of the nation?
Let me give you a lesson in marketing, a simple one at that and one that you could pose to Air Asia as well.
Why has QPR not changed their name to QPR Air Asia? Why has Team Lotus not called themselves Lotus Air Asia?
The Federal Constitution and the Sports Development Act 1997 is very explicit on the usage of the wording Malaysia. So what gives some people the right to utilize the name of our nation for commercial purposes?
Will this ever make it to the main stream media? Doubt it as they need the adverts and curry favour with MHF as well.
But what is wrong has to be pointed out but no one will get hauled up for such blatant disregard of our country's laws.
Note: Wish I had the money and could ask MHF to name a team after my blog.