On Friday, Oct. 30, Sean Arbour, the chair of the Upper Island Riptide Steering Committee, contacted the Record discuss the timeline of the contentious sponsorship deal with Marine Harvest.
A wealth of misinformation has been passed along, mostly through social media comment boxes accompanying the articles, and on Facebook pages. Emotions have run high among many involved – and many not directly involved – and blame has been laid on all three parties.
First and foremost, Arbour wants people to realize that while the deal was announced publicly on Aug. 24, the two sides had been in negotiations for nearly the entire year.
Riptide contacted Marie Harvest
Corporate sponsorship is the responsibility of the steering committee, and Arbour said it was the committee that approached Marine Harvest regarding sponsorship.
“We sat down with our steering committee in September of last year (2014) and felt we needed to upgrade our program,” said Arbour, discussing the timeline of the eventual sponsorship. “We felt we were doing all the right things, but we needed to get better full-time technical coaching, with the likes of (former Canadian national team coach) Shel Brodsgaard and (BC Soccer coach and former World Cup striker) Ken Garraway, and we needed to bring on a full-time goaltender coach. All that costs money.
“It was at that time that I said ‘Ian Roberts (director of public affairs at Marine Harvest Canada) and I played men’s indoor soccer together for years. Maybe there’s an opportunity there.’”
“So in February of 2015 is when I went begging for money – with the help of Ken Garraway – from Marine Harvest.”
Arbour said attaining the sponsorship was a detailed process.
“It took some negotiations – it went over a couple of months back and forth, to get the kind of commitment from them that we needed. They needed to know what the money was going for, what is it going to do, what is our end goal. So it wasn’t easy. But they stepped up and they sponsored us.”
Logos a part of sponsorship
Part of the sponsorship agreement was that the Marine Harvest logo would be applied to the jerseys.
“This is nothing new in amateur sports,” said Arbour. “To be honest, it never entered any of our minds, on this fundraising committee, that this was not the right fit for the program.”
Arbour said his only motive behind attaining Marine Harvest as a corporate sponsor was for the benefit and ongoing progression of the soccer club.
“Hindsight is 20/20, but to be honest, if I had the chance to do this all over again, I would,” said Arbour. “You may have an opinion, but there is nothing illegal for us to do what we did, and it’s not illegal for them to do what they did.”