CHELSEA announced the most dramatic change in corporate image since the arrival of Roman Abramovich as the club’s owner in July 2003 by ending a decade-long association with Umbro, their kit supplier.

The club said that they had decided "by mutual agreement" to terminate the contract five years early and would pay the retailer £24.5 million in compensation. The agreement will now end in June 2006 at the conclusion of Chelsea’s centenary season.

Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, will open talks with a new kit supplier and replica kit distributor. Adidas is the favourite to land the deal because Nike is tied into a long-term relationship with Manchester United, while Reebok (Adidas)supplies Liverpool.

Chelsea are also looking for a new shirt sponsor to replace Emirates, the airline company whose £6 million-a-year agreement winds up at the end of this season, when it will move its sponsorship to Arsenal’s new ground at Ashburton Grove.

FC Barcelona and Nike inc. have reached an agreement to extend their current deal by five years until 2013. The deal is thought to be worth around 150m Euros (189m Dollars). The agreement also includes a clause whereby the contract can be extended five years more until the year 2018.

 "FC Barcelona is one of the best football teams and one of the most attractive to watch. We are extremely satisfied in extending this contract", said Mark Marker, president and CEO of Nike Inc. "The relationships we hold with top football clubs such as FC Barcelona help us to maintain our role in the world's most popular sport and to be the most important brand in the world of football".

FC Barcelona's fame as the only major European team not to wear advertising on the front of its shirts is over. Yet the European champion is delighted by the groundbreaking manner it has broken with tradition — through an agreement to publicize UNICEF.

The front of Barcelona's maroon and blue striped jersey sported the name of the children's charity for the first time in the Champions League game with Levski Sofia.

 

Adidas and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) announced that they have entered a long-term partnership until 2014. adidas and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) announced that they have entered a long-term partnership until 2014

 The partnership is a natural alliance between the No. 1 football brand and one of the most important federations in Latin America and worldwide.

 Under the terms of the agreement, which comes into effect January 10, 2007, adidas will supply all national teams of the FMF including the U-17 team, the current FIFA World Champions in their category.

Manchester United, has struck the U.K.'s most valuable shirt-sponsorship deal, worth $99 million (£56.5 million) over four years to carry the name of insurer American International Group on its jerseys. But did the club get top dollar for turning its players into moving billboards?

United had been casting around for a replacement for its $16.6 million-per-year deal with Vodafone  after the two agreed last year to part ways early at the end of the current season, with the mobile phone transferring its sponsorship dollars to Europe's top club competition, UEFA's Champion League.

“Few institutions, sporting or otherwise, have been able to match the aura and mystique that FC Barcelona as a football club exude. Even if the team is doing badly, as it has done for long spells in its history, Barca has still always been symbolic with Protest Football - be it during Franco's reign where it became a potent symbol of Catalan identity to the incident in March 2002, when anti-capitalists protesting the WTO, stormed the Nou Camp pitch during a Barca-Real Madrid game. If ever there was an anti-capitalist entity sitting among the world's elite, it was Barcelona, or so it was perceived by people not even footballing. So what better place to showcase your ire, then, than in its backyard - with the whole world watching.

That this could happen at any other venue, with any other club is slightly unimaginable, for even if Manchester United's supporters showing their protest against Malcolm Glazer's advances at Old Trafford is heartening, it is a direct reaction to something that is likely to affect them and not so much an instance of lending the world's richest club to an issue totally outside soccer's purview.

By the early 1980s in England competition sponsorship had opened the way to club shirt sponsorship. Abroad, the wearing of product names on club shirts was already common.


In 1978 Liverpool became the first British club to have a shirt sponsor.Sponsors names in England were initially limited in size by the Football League in order to placate fans and the 'non advertising' BBC. Some products cigarettes for example were considered 'not suitable' for football shirts, though alcohol products are still regularly featured on shirts. Most sponsors are private companies, but: WBA has had sponsorship from the Health Education Council; Millwall has promoted safe sex; and Hull City were sponsored in 1997/98 by the University of Hull

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