Premier League sponsor Bass is locked in a multimillion pound exclusivity battle with brewing rivals Scottish Courage and Carlsberg-Tetley.
Bass wants to replace the Premier League badge, which appears on the left-hand sleeve of all Premier League player’s shirts, with a badge bearing its Carling lager brand.
It has a 36m four-year sponsorship contract with the Premier League, which contains a number of obscure clauses that seemingly allow the lager brand a more visible sponsorship.
However, Carlsberg-Tetley, whose lager brand Carlsberg sponsors Liverpool FC shirts, and Scottish Courage, whose Newcastle Brown Ale sponsors Newcastle FC’s shirts, are just two clubs which strongly oppose the move. These contracts are worth 1m a year to each club.
Privately, the Premier League is understood to back Carling’s position, though the matter will be officially decided by club chairmen in consultation with their shirt sponsors.
Mike Flynn, head of sponsorship for Carling, argues that there will not be any misunderstanding among the public as to which brand sponsors which club. He says: “The fans know who sponsors Liverpool and who sponsors the Premiership.”
Last season Nationwide, which sponsors the Football League for 5.25m over three years, introduced badges for the players in the 72 clubs it covers.