Is this the most bizarre sponsorship in sports?

FC Metz' new jerseys featuring Chad on the front. Photo / Twitter
FC Metz' new jerseys featuring Chad on the front. Photo / Twitter

Chad, the world's fourth-poorest country, has become the main sponsor of a French Ligue 1 football club.

The African nation is to sponsor FC Metz, reportedly in a bid to attract more tourists.

The decision has received much criticism with the French newspaper Le Progres asking if the country was wasting its money and the head of Chad's athletic association, Hissene Ngaro, calling the move "a bad joke." Sports Minister Betel Miarom denied reports that the sponsorship deal had cost approximately 12 million euros ($NZ18.25 million), but did not name any other sum. The football club did not comment either.

New club jerseys that were introduced in August now display the slogan "Chad: Oasis of the Sahel." According to the Chadian government the deal is being financed by local companies.

One in seven children in Chad dies before the age of five, one of the world's highest child mortality rates. Life expectancy in the landlocked north-central African country is 51 years.

- AAP

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