A GRAB for a last-moment sponsor has saved Geelong’s leading soccer clubs thousands of dollars.
Geelong’s only competition involving all six league teams from five different divisions was stranded without a naming rights sponsor days out from its cup opener.
But City of Greater Geelong handed over $8000 to take on sponsorship of the pre-season tournament.
A previous deal involving State Government fitness initiative Go for Your Life was not renewed this year.
Geelong Cup tournament liaison officer Russell Butler said clubs would have had to pay several expenses out of their own pockets to run the annual competition if council had not intervened.
“It would have come out of the gate money and there would have been no dividend for the clubs,” he said.
The champions will now receive $2500, runners-up $1500 and third $500 rather than forego any prize money.
Butler said the clubs would have had to funnel into their own gate receipts to pay for referee fees, trophies and other organising costs.
“That (sponsorship) will certainly now help the clubs themselves.
“The competition was still going to go ahead with or without prize money. The clubs are more financially well off.”
Butler said reducing the City of Greater Geelong Cup to six teams had benefited the competition.
Annual Sunday league champion and Hoppers Crossing were dropped from this year’s format.
All six Geelong teams instead play five round-robin games rather than three pool matches before this year’s cup final and third and fourth play-off.
“The change has made it more even and stronger,” Butler said.
“We had a couple of weak teams. It really showed up (last year) when the top teams played the bottom teams.”
After Corio and Surf Coast played a 3-3 draw last Friday night, Butler expected this year to be the most exciting Cup competition yet.
“First against sixth could go either way because most of their competitions are pretty even,” he said.
Bell Park tackled Geelong Rangers and North Geelong met Geelong in Wednesday night’s two games after the Independent went to press.
The Independent is a supporter of the cup.