Provident Financial cuts ties with former rugby league world champs

Oliver Gill
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Super League Grand Final: Leeds Rhinos v Bradford Bulls
Bradford Bulls won the Super League in 2005 and went on to win the World Club Challenge in 2006 (Source: Getty)

Troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial has blown the final whistle on its close association with rugby league team Bradford Bulls.

Headquartered in the Yorkshire city, Provident was the lead sponsor of both the Bulls' jerseys and its ground.

The sponsorship deal, originally signed in 2013, was worth a reported £1m over four years.

Provident stuck by Bradford after it collapsed into administration in 2014, fell out of the top tier Super League and entered liquidation last year.

Ending its association with the 2006 World Club Challenge champions comes as Provident grapples with its own problems.

Read more: Top fund managers slug it out over Provident Financial

Britain's biggest sub-prime lender was hit by one of the largest one-day sell-offs in FTSE 100 history last year. It shocked investors by announcing home credit collections had collapsed and that regulators were investigating the sale of a PPI-style product called repayment option plan.

Boss Peter Crook resigned and at the end of last year executive chairman Manjit Wolstenholme tragically died aged 53.

While home collection levels have risen subsequently, they remain well below historical norms.

And with many in the City estimating redress and penalties could top £300m – and cash headroom increasingly tight – analysts have predicted a rights issue has become "increasingly likely".

Bradford Bulls chairman Andrew Chalmers said Provident had been a "perfect example of supporting a club".

He added: "Provident intelligently utilised many of the club’s unique ‘touch points’ and stadia space to interact with supporters, engaging daily with them digitally via the club’s platforms and their ‘Supporting Bulls Supporters’ Facebook page.

"This model has been the envy of many sporting organisations and something we will be looking to replicate and enhance. We have an open-minded approach to sponsorship and we tailor our services to suit, it is a core value that runs throughout our commercial department, which has worked brilliantly with the Provident partnership."

Read more: Provident shares crash as rights issue becomes "increasingly likely"

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