SUNDERLAND has announced that BFS Group Limited will become the club’s new “principal partner” from the 2013/14 season.
BFS Group is the main UK operation of The Bidvest Group Limited, which is headquartered in South Africa.
The deal with build on Sunderland’s ties with Africa after the club’s link up with Invest in Africa and its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The BFS Group partnership includes sponsoring the players’ shirts, perimeter advertising and involvement from the players in community events in the UK.
The Bidvest Group also owns Bidvest Wits, one of the largest football clubs on the African continent, and Sunderland AFC will be able to share coaching and business expertise with the South African club.
Sunderland AFC chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “We are absolutely delighted to be entering into a partnership with The BFS Group and Bidvest.
The groups’ credentials in terms of community support are akin to our own and this takes our club to a whole new level in terms of its international commercial activity.
“Whilst Sunderland will always be a club defined by its proud regional history and heritage, in order for the club to continue to move forward, building our reputation and presence internationally becomes a key focus.
“I am sure this will be a very fruitful partnership for both parties.”
The Bidvest Group is a global business operating across a range of sectors with over 105,000 employees across four continents.
It also operates the largest global foodservice business outside North America and has significant presence in the UK market.
Bidvest’s Brian Joffe, said: “Sunderland AFC is the perfect partner for us in the UK where we deliver food and drink to over 50,000 businesses each week.
“The support that Sunderland AFC offers to their local community, setting up the Foundation of Light and now supporting development of initiatives further afield mirrors the Bidvest spirit of investing time and funds back into the markets we operate in.”
Sunderland AFC has established itself as one of the most-recognised English clubs across Africa in recent seasons.
Its ground-breaking link-up with Invest in Africa in January 2012 afforded a springboard to the ground-breaking not-for-profit initiative to promote Africa as a leading investment destination and actively challenge misconceptions about investing on the continent.