01 Apr 2005
Media release - 1 April 2005
The Transport Accident Commission has today terminated its major sponsorship of the Richmond Football Club, effective immediately.
TAC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Stephen Grant, said the TAC was left with no alternative but to end its 16 year relationship with Richmond, following the drink-driving and speeding incident involving Tigers player, Jay Schulz.
“I wish to stress that the TAC has not taken this decision to terminate the sponsorship lightly,” Mr Grant said.
“After 16 years as a major sponsor of Richmond, the decision we have taken was an extremely difficult one. But it was also a decision which, given the events of the last 36 hours, we had no alternative but to make.
“The last time a Richmond footballer was detected drink driving in late 2001, the TAC made it abundantly clear to the Club that it had received its first and final warning.
“We told the Richmond Football Club, and stated publicly, that the TAC would instantly terminate its sponsorship of the Club, should a repeat drink driving offence occur.
“We owe it to our staff, our road safety partners and to every Victorian who has been injured or lost a loved one to road trauma to honour that pledge.”
Mr Grant said the TAC bore no ill-will towards Jay Schulz or the Richmond Football Club, but had acted decisively to emphasise the importance of the ‘Drink, Drive. Bloody Idiot’ message.
“By all accounts Jay Schulz is a fine young man with a very promising football career ahead of him,” Mr Grant said.
“And we know that he recently injured his ankle in the Wizard Cup game against Collingwood.
“But he is also a young man who yesterday morning made a terrible mistake – a mistake which all too often leads to consequences far more devastating than a broken ankle.
“By getting behind the wheel after drinking – and then speeding some 40 kilometres an hour over the limit – Jay not only put his own life at risk, but also those of other road users.”
“In many ways, Jay was lucky the police intercepted him. Had they not done so the consequences could have so easily been far, far worse.”
Mr Grant said more than 100 lives had already been lost Victorian roads this year.
“Eight people died over the Easter holiday break alone,” he said.
“When lives are lost and broken, it is the TAC that picks up the pieces. And that is why we take these matters so seriously. That is why we have taken the decision we have.”