Britain's Premier League, the globe’s wealthiest soccer competition, has named Barclays Bank credit card arm Barclaycard as title-sponsor for the three years commencing with the 2002 season.

A cash-insouciant sponsor has been a long time a-coming, say soccer insiders, deterred by the cupidity of the world’s richest soccer league. The Premiership, as it is colloquially known in England, has been courting sponsors with deep pockets for several months after current backer, UK lager brand Carling balked at the new asking price [WAMN: 19-Feb-01].

Others who have retired from sponsorship negotiations with watering eyes include Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company, global brewer Budweiser, Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

But mention of vulgar cash did not so much as pass the lips of League chief executive Richard Scudamore, who told a news conference yesterday: “Barclaycard's aspirations fitted with what we could deliver.” These aspirations totalled £48 million – £16m per year compared with the £12m annual fee paid by current sponsor Carling.

Commented Barclaycard chief executive Bob Potts: "This is the kind of significant strategic investment we have been looking to make for some time. It utilises our brand to the full in supporting the ambitious plans we have for developing our businesses at home and abroad."

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)