The 21-month jail term awarded to Lionel Messi by a Spanish court for tax evasion has put Tata Motors in a limbo over its association with the soccer star.
The auto major has a two-year agreement with the 29-year old footballer with an option for an extension for endorsing its range of passenger vehicles in India and in international markets.
When Messi announced his retirement from international football soccer recently, the company had said it would not change its business relations with the footballer. However, with the conviction grabbing news headlines, Tata Motors might have to rethink its association with the football legend. According to media reports, the company’s legal team was in touch with Messi's managers to get more clarity on the court verdict and its implications.
The Tata Motors stock price has been trading on a flat note with a negative bias today. On BSE, the share is trading at Rs 459.50, down 1.03 per cent from yesterday’s close.
Dubbed as the 'agent of change' for Tata Motors, Messi helped the auto major to reclaim its lost position in the Indian market backed by a series of new products, innovative sales programmes and customer reach initiatives. Messi was featured in the ad for Tata Motors’ Tiago hatchback. Post-retirement, Tata Motors had even announced that Messi would feature in TV commercials for sedan Kite 5, multi utility vehicle Hexa and compact sports utility vehicle Nexon.
For Tata Motors, this was the first time in a decade that the passenger vehicle business has used a celebrity in its overall brand association campaign.