Barnfield College criticised for ‘frittering away’ cash on Hatters kit deal

Barnfield College is the new sponsor of Luton Town FC
Barnfield College is the new sponsor of Luton Town FC

Barnfield College has been slammed for ‘frittering away’ public funds on sponsoring Luton Town FC’s kit for the 2015/16 season.

The college was unveiled as the surprise new backer for the club on Saturday, replacing easyJet which ended its six year association with the Hatters in June.

Barnfield College declined to confirm how much the deal is worth when contacted by the Luton News, but said that its 2015/16 marketing budget is “in-line with sector norms”.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has blasted the decision made by new principal Tim Eyton-Jones.

The think tank’s chief executive Jonathan Isaby told us: “Taxpayers’ money earmarked for education should not be frittered away on marketing deals, no matter how much those at the college might want their organisation emblazoned across Steve McNulty’s chest.

“Quite apart from the fact that this deal represents a football club being subsidised by taxpayers, who quite rightly wouldn’t expect a college to divert valuable resources towards Luton’s transfer budget, there are real issues around the lack of transparency in the deal.”

When announcing the deal, Mr Eyton-Jones said that the kit sponsorship offers ‘tangible benefits’ for students and that it will help the college ‘forge closer links with the community’.

A college spokesperson added that the Hatters and Barnfield have ‘tangible synergy’ and that the deal will allow the college to reach its ‘key immediate audiences’.

Taxpayers’ Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby urged the college to follow up its claims with details of the sponsorship expenditure.

He told the Luton News: “We must know how much has been spent and what perks will come with the deal– marketing claptrap and impenetrable phrases like ‘tangible synergy’ are simply not good enough.”