Community team calls out ‘leeches’

A pub which calls itself “Brisbane’s best” has been shamed for failing to honour a cynically-structured sponsorship with a non-profit community team.

The Normanby Hotel is one of two businesses Latin American Rugby League are outing for dodging their commitments – worth mere hundreds of dollars.

The Normanby logo displayed on the Heat uniform.
The Normanby logo displayed on the Heat uniform.

“I think it’s time all community clubs stood up and shamed these types of organisations, no matter how big they might consider themselves,” Latin American president Robert Burgin said.

“They are, in essence, preying on the work of volunteers to promote their brand, then not even having the decency to respond to messages, let alone honouring deals.

“Worse, they take up room on uniforms and time that could be dedicated to proper sponsors.”

The Latin Heat, an international squad formed mainly from foreign students and the children of refugees, had a written agreement to be refunded 10 per cent of everything their players and officials spent at The Normanby.

In return for supposed quarterly instalments, the Latin Americans wore The Normanby logo on their sleeves, promoted the venue on social media channels, in videos, on flyers and held team meetings at the venue.

“There was no up-front investment from them. Basically we had to go out and purchase the uniforms and materials to promote their brand firstly,” said Mr Burgin.

Email from The Normanby Hotel
Email from The Normanby Hotel

“Then we had to spend money there to receive money back.

“True, we knew what the terms were when we entered into the agreement, but one of those terms was that we would be recompensed at regular intervals.

“It’s been nine months since the agreement began, and a month since they last responded to several politely-worded emails, so it’s time to show them for the leeches they really are.”

Mr Burgin estimates that based on the percentage deal The Normanby Hotel would owe roughly around $400.

Unfortunately it’s not the first time the Heat has been burnt by an unscrupulous company, still owed $500 from a 2013 deal with a Morayfield gym.

The gym, owned by a Chilean-Australian rugby league player, received publicity on the inside back cover of The Courier-Mail and on the Queensland Rugby League website for ‘sponsoring’ the inaugural Heat side.

“Unfortunately that person has never seen fit to pay for that significant exposure, the place on the jersey he occupied for a year, or to respond to numerous messages,” Mr Burgin said.

The Courier-Mail, Sept 2 2013.
The Courier-Mail, Sept 2 2013.

“It’s disappointing he chooses not to honour the commitment he made to our players, especially when the team is specifically designed to provide opportunities to his fellow Latinos which didn’t exist previously.

“He approved the logo placement on the jersey and publicity worth thousands of dollars, then disappeared once the jerseys were already in production and the media release had been distributed.

“Funnily enough, after two years of not hearing from him, he responded with a threat of legal action within two hours of this story getting out.”

The Latin Heat receives no financial support from the National Rugby League or Rugby League International Federation and survives on fund-raising, committee contributions and honest sponsors alone.