KUALA LUMPUR: Cardiff team owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan revealed that strong support from Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar helped the club make a successful push to get back into the top flight of English football.
The Malaysian business tycoon said the Sultan of Johor contributed a total of £3mil (RM16.04 mil) over the last three years.
“The Sultan of Johor is a business partner and I did mention to him that we needed sponsorship at that time. My gratitude to him for agreeing to sponsor us. Not many knew of this,” said Vincent.
On whether the Sultan of Johor will continue to support Cardiff financially, a smiling Vincent replied: “I hope so.”
Cardiff are back in the English Premier League again but Vincent said he has no intention of changing the Visit Malaysia logo proudly displayed on their jerseys.
“Cardiff have been keeping the Visit Malaysia logo on the jersey for nine years but Tourism Malaysia only helped pay for one year - at a discounted rate.
“I’m a Malaysian and I love my country. I would not change the Visit Malaysia logo and even the Sultan of Johor wants us to keep it that way,” said the business tycoon, adding that they hoped to get in touch with the new Minister of Tourism to discuss on club sponsorship.
“I understand that Tourism Malaysia has a deal with footballer Luis Suarez (from Uruguay) but I don’t think he goes around saying he is our ambassador.
“We’re in Premier League now and there will be 4.8 billion people watching, so I think there cannot be any better way to promote our country.
“The new Tourism Minister has not been announced yet but we hope to arrange for something later,” he added.
On his personal wish for Cardiff, Vincent hopes the club stays as long as possible in the Premier League.
“I’m very happy that Cardiff has earned promotion. The joke is always that we are a one-season wonder. I pray that we can stay up there for a long, long time.
“Being in the Premier League is so much different compared to the Championship ... financially it’s like heaven and hell,” he joked.
Cardiff completed a triumphant return to the Premier League on May 6, courtesy of a defining draw at home against Reading.