Smith takes things personally in search for new Scottish Cup sponsorship

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SCOTTISH Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith is determined to have a sponsor in place for next season's Scottish Cup.

The competition has been without a sponsor since Tennent's ended its 18-year association after the 2007 final.

Smith insists losing the sponsorship has had no impact on the prestige of the competition, or the standard of games, but he admits the SFA's accounts have taken a hit.

"It doesn't spoil the competition or the Cup at all," Smith told BBC Radio Scotland.

"It spoils the SFA's figures, our income for the year. We're hoping by next year there will be a sponsor in place. That's something I will be taking an interest in myself."

Smith stressed money brought in through sponsorship of the Cup would go to help youth and amateur initiatives in the Scottish game.

Smith, who will travel to Prague this week for Scotland's friendly international against the Czech Republic on Friday, added: "We do require that money so it's a sad loss to us as a body for our income, but it's not had a great effect on the Cup as such."

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago have secured the use of the Hasely Crawford Stadium as the venue for their friendly against England next weekend after defeating an attempt to impose a lease agreement banning the advertising of alcohol and tobacco.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) had to take legal action against their government's minister of sport, Gary Hunt, after trying to introduce the new agreement just two weeks before the prestigious international.

The game will go ahead at the 27,000-capacity stadium in the Trinidadian capital Port of Spain on June 1.

TTFF spokesman Shaun Fuentes said: "We thought that all along the ministry of sport would in the long run realise that it had a case out of its favour.

"When you have an entire nation looking forward to an event – a special day in its history, particularly sporting wise – it was always going to be difficult to deny the masses such an experience and as such the ministry had to give in."

Agreement was secured in a special Trinidadian high court sitting after the TTFF agreed to pay the ministry US$150,000 by 4pm on May 27 for the use of the stadium, which hosted the final of the FIFA U-17 World Championship in 2001.

In return the ministry conceded the rights for alcohol sales and advertising to the TTFF.

During the hearing by Justice Carol Gobin, TTFF attorney Om Lalla presented a letter from the Football Association, threatening legal action against TTFF for breach of contract if the match was cancelled.

Minister of sport Hunt claimed negotiations had been on an amicable footing.

However, Hunt was lambasted by TTFF adviser and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner as the "worst minister of sport ever".

Fuentes added: "We at the TTFF are pleased that there has been a resolution which will only serve as beneficial to the country and the sport of football in particular. There was no way the ministry could allow a game of such magnitude to be put off because of its intentions.

"We definitely hope now that nothing similar to what took place over the past week will be repeated for matches in the future, particularly our World Cup qualifying matches where major points and the country's presence at a massive world event will be at stake."

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