Liverpool sponsor wants Asian players on club

The bank that sponsors Liverpool wants the club to bring in

high-profile Asian players.

Standard Chartered executive Gavin Laws outlined his hopes for

Liverpool in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday,

saying the bank sees great potential for the club to increase its

exposure in the Asian market – where it does most of its

business.

”The real power for what Liverpool could do for us, and I think

for the English Premier League, is if there was a way they could

nurture foreign players from Asia … a great Asian player – you

see what Park Ji-sung does for Manchester United,” Laws, the

bank’s head of corporate affairs, said at the SoccerEx

conference.

”The markets in Asia and the Middle East are so nationalistic,

they are very proud about their countries. (Matches) become huge

events. One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier

League, and you’d have the whole of Dubai watching it.”

Liverpool is sixth in the Premier League, four points behind

fifth-place Tottenham, which is in the Europa League spot and has

played a game less.

It means the five-time European champions are set to miss out on

competing in the more lucrative Champions League for the second

successive season.

For Standard Chartered, the European competitions are of less

interest than the Premier League.

”The Champions League for us as a sponsor is not that important

for us,” Laws said. ”By the time the games are played, the major

markets we are interested in, everyone is asleep and in bed.”

And it’s in those Asian markets where Standard Chartered wants

to be selling more shirts with its brand across them.

”The market is saturated in Europe with so many clubs, how many

more merchandise sales are they going to create over the next 10

years?” Laws said. ”If the clubs want to do merchandise sales

going at an exponential rate you’ve got to be in China, you’ve got

to be in Korea, really getting all the people excited about the

game.”