Sports

Chad Sponsors Ligue 1 Club FC Metz, Despite Being World’s Fourth-Poorest Country

Chadian officials are hoping the move will attract holidaymakers to the landlocked Central African country, despite its status as a failed state.
September 6, 2016, 1:48pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Sports UK.

Chad, the world's fourth-poorest country, has been announced as the new shirt sponsor for Ligue 1 club FC Metz.

For the duration of the 2016/17 season, FC Metz's shirts will read: "Tchad, Oasis du Sahel" ("Chad, Oasis of the Sahel"). The Chadian tourism office is attempting to rebrand the country as a destination for holidaymakers, despite regional instability and its status as a failed state.

The decision has been heavily criticised in both France and Chad, with many questioning the value of the deal. Fox Sports report that Hissene Ngaro, the head of Chad's athletic association, has called the move "a bad joke."

Chadian Sports Minister Betel Miarom has denied reports that the sponsorship deal has cost around €12m, but declined to give an exact figure. He has reportedly claimed that the deal will help strengthen economic ties between Chad and France.

Chad is ranked fourth-lowest on the United Nations' Human Development Index, ahead of only Niger, Eritrea and the Central African Republic. Despite the criticism, Miarom has claimed that the Chadian state did not finance the deal, and that it was instead funded via intermediary companies and third parties.