LONDON: Vauxhall, the UK car maker that until very recently was owned by General Motors, has announced that it will end its lead sponsorship of the four home nations' football teams.
The company said in a statement that it would step down as lead sponsor of the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland football teams after the 2018 World Cup.
French car giant PSA Group acquired Vauxhall earlier this month along with GM's other European operations, but the statement did not refer to the £1.9bn deal or suggest that the end of Vauxhall's sponsorship was related.
Instead, the company said it has agreed to "explore other opportunities to continue its relationship with the FAs [football associations] beyond the conclusion of the existing contracts", which have been in place since 2011.
"Vauxhall will now concentrate its marketing resources on communicating the wealth of new, innovative and technologically advanced models that will be launched over the coming months and years," the statement added.
The news is significant for all four home nations – the deal for the England team alone is thought to be worth around £6m a year – but, for its part, the English FA expressed confidence that other brands would want to step forward.
"We've enjoyed a strong partnership with Vauxhall since they started and will continue to develop exciting plans as we look to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year," said Mark Bullingham, the FA's Commercial and Marketing Director, in comments to The Guardian.
"After that we will go to market for a new England lead partner, which represents an exciting opportunity for brands to connect with England football fans throughout the country. The opportunity to partner with the national team in the largest sport in the world can be transformative."
Meanwhile, the BBC reported the Scottish FA as saying said it would consider all the options open to it as it starts the process of finding a new lead sponsor that's in the best interests of Scottish football.
And the Football Association of Wales and the Irish FA both said they looked forward to working with new lead sponsors following their successful relationships with Vauxhall.
Data sourced from Vauxhall, Guardian; additional content by WARC staff